John Boehner: Debt crisis not ‘immediate,’ but ‘looming’

March 17, 2013

The nation does not have an "immediate" debt crisis, but a "looming" one which requires attention from lawmakers right now, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

(Mark Wilson/GETTY IMAGES
(Mark Wilson/GETTY IMAGES)

"We do not have an immediate debt crisis," Boehner said on ABC News's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos." "But we all know that we have one looming.  And we have -- one looming -- because we have entitlement programs that are not sustainable in their current form. They’re gonna go bankrupt."

Boehner's remark that there is no present debt crisis echoed President Obama, who told ABC News last week, "We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt,” But, Boehner said, he disagrees with the president about what should be done about the debt right now.

"His point, as he went on to say in that interview, is that we don't -- we don't really need to do anything at this point.  And I would argue that we do need to do something," said the House speaker.

House Republicans recently released a budget blueprint that balances the budget in ten years, while Obama said, "My goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance."

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, echoed Boehner's position on the nation's debt on Sunday.

"We do not have a debt crisis right now, but we see it coming," Ryan said on CBS News's "Face The Nation."

Boehner called his relationship with the president "very good." But he reserved judgement about whether a "grand bargain" to rein in the deficit could be achieved.

"I don't know whether we can -- come to an -- a big agreement," said Boehner. "If we do -- it'll be between the two parties on Capitol Hill. Hopefully -- we can go to conference on these budgets and hope springs eternal in my mind."

Even as some Republicans have signaled a willingness to discuss new tax revenue in exchange for substantial reforms to entitlements, Boehner continued to hold a hard line against any new taxes.

"The talk about raising revenue is over.  It's time to deal with the spending problem," said Boehner.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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