House Republican leaders speak out — but nowhere closer to a deal

February 25, 2013


House Republicans have a message for President Obama: If you want to avert the sequester, stop calling us, and start calling Senate Democrats.

Speaking at a news conference as they returned from a week-long recess, House GOP leaders added to a chorus of Republicans skeptical of the warnings issued by the White House in recent days about $85 billion in federal spending cuts affecting government operations and the American economy.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) called warnings issued Monday by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano part of a “false choice” being offered by the Obama administration.

“The president’s been engaging in this rhetoric of a false choice for weeks now,” Cantor said.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was sharper: “This is not time for a road show president, this is time to look for someone who will lead and work with us, because we’re willing to work with them to solve America’s problems.”

“Hope springs eternal,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said when asked whether he thought the cuts would occur as scheduled on Friday.

“The president can sit down with Harry Reid tonight and work with Senate Democrats, who have the majority in the Senate to move a bill. It’s time for them to act. I’ve made this clear for months now, and yet we’ve seen nothing,” he added.

When asked, Boehner said he did not know how many jobs could be affected by the budget cuts, but added: “If we don’t solve this spending problem here in Washington, there will be tens of millions of jobs in the future that won’t happen because of the debt load that’s happening on the backs of our kids and grandkids. I came here to save the American dream for my kids and yours. This debt problem and the president’s addition to spending is threatening their future.”

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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Anne Bartlett | February 25, 2013