“The president put his [budget] out, Republicans put theirs out,” said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarty (R-Calif.), the number-three-ranking House Republican, at a news conference after a closed-door conference meeting. “Now the president thinks he has to do a sequel. ... As many of you know, being a sequel, none of them are better than the original.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the number-two Republican in the House, charged that the speech represents the latest example of the White House letting others take the lead on tough budget decisions, only to intervene late in the game.
“This is vintage Obama,” Cantor said. “He’s been standing on the sidelines, expecting the rest of us to make the tough decisions to lead this country. ... I’m hopeful we hear specifics, but I hope we don’t have a re-do and a do-over of the tax agreement that we came to together last December. Again, this is an issue that was litigated in the election last fall.”
And House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that he has “been pushing the president for months to engage in this discussion about our long-term fiscal mess.”
“I’m glad that he’s finally decided to engage in it,” Boehner said, adding that Republicans remain opposed to any proposal that would raise taxes. The White House has said that one of the four steps Obama will outline in his speech will include the boosting of tax revenues.
The House Republicans’ news conference came less than two hours before Cantor and Boehner were to join other bipartisan, bicameral congressional leaders for a meeting with Obama at the White House to preview the president’s speech.
The White House has said that the other three steps Obama is set to lay out include limiting domestic spending, making additional cuts to the Department of Defense budget and reducing health-care costs.
Obama is scheduled to deliver the speech at 1:30 p.m. at the George Washington University.