The top two GOP leaders in the House have renewed their call for President Obama to abandon tax hikes.
"With nervous markets, unemployment at more than 9 percent and millions of Americans asking, 'Where are the jobs?,' the worst thing Washington can do for our economy is raise taxes on the people we need to start hiring again," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) wrote in an op-ed in Wednesday's USA Today.
They said Obama must take further steps this fall to cut government spending without resorting to tax increases, and said generally that a tax hike is an area of "disagreement" that will only slow progress toward reaching agreement on deficit cuts.
Obama's voice has been answered by the field of 2012 GOP candidates hoping to replace him, but Republicans in Congress, on a monthlong recess after the marathon debt talks, have been more quiet.
The two leaders called the debt-ceiling agreement reached in late July "only a step," and one that doesn't deserve a "victory lap." They added that the Standard & Poor's federal debt downgrade shows that more cutting needs to be done, and said that should provide new impetus to tackle entitlement spending reform in the fall.
"Our hope is S&P's wake-up call will show President Obama and his allies that they can no longer afford to tinker around the edges when it comes to our debt crisis," they wrote.
Boehner and Cantor invited Obama to continue working with Republicans on how to solve the debt and jobs crisis in America, which they said involves easing the tax burden, developing energy resources within the U.S. and approving pending free trade agreements.
"The Republican majority in the House continues to listen, which is why despite being outnumbered in Washington, these changes are happening incrementally," they wrote. "Time and again, we have reached out to President Obama in the hope that he would finally be ready to do what is needed to solve our debt crisis and tackle America’s job crisis. The offer still stands. Let's get to work."