House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) explained in an interview with the Associated Press why he is not engaging in talks with Democratic leadership over the looming sequester as he did over the debt ceiling late last year.
“Frankly, every time I’ve gotten into one of these high-profile negotiations, you know, it’s my rear end that got burnt,” the Republican leader said. It's up to the White House and Senate, he said, to come up with a solution.
Boehner again pinned blame for the sequester cuts, set to take effect March 1, on President Obama. “Remember, this is the president’s idea. He insisted on this,” the speaker told the AP. “And until he puts forward a plan to replace the sequester and his Senate Democratic colleagues pass it, we’re going to be stuck with it.”
Senate Democrats are drafting a plan that would delay the sequester's automatic across-the-board spending cuts for several months by offsetting them with $120 billion in savings drawn by raising taxes for millionaires, closing loopholes for oil and gas production, and some smaller version of cuts to the military budget and agriculture subsidies.
Republicans, however, reject adding new tax revenue to the mix of potential savings to avert the sequester. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has dismissed Reid’s plan as something that “doesn’t lead to a solution” and said he's "not interested" in forging another eleventh-hour deal with Vice President Biden.
“It’s pretty clear to me that the sequester is going to go into effect,” the minority leader told reporters earlier this week.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Tuesday that he is scheduled to meet later this week with Boehner.