By Alicia M. Cohn - 07/26/11 05:32 PM EDT
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday rejected criticism that his newly revealed two-step deficit plan would allow for the creation of a committee likely to raise taxes.
"It's going to be pretty hard for the committee to [raise taxes]," Boehner said, promising that if the panel brought a solution that included raising taxes to the House, the Republican majority would vote it down.
"Some people" are concerned that taxes would go up as a result of the way the committee will be formed, Boehner said on conservative Rush Limbaugh's radio show. "I don't fear that problem. And frankly, I'm not afraid of the debate. If they want to have that debate, let's have it."
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has been outspoken in his opposition to Boehner's plan, based in part on the idea of forming a committee.
"We don't need a commission, we need a balanced budget amendment," DeMint tweeted Monday.
DeMint's opposition led the way for a coalition of Tea Party groups that also oppose the plan. The Cut, Cap and Balance Coalition said it could not support Boehner's plan in part because it feared a congressional commission would "make it easier to raise taxes than to institute enduring budget reforms."
Boehner said he agreed that his proposal isn't "perfect," but argued that it would force Congress to make cuts as well as do the necessary work of raising the debt ceiling in order to fulfill the county's "moral obligation" to pay its debt.
"I believe the joint select committee can in fact produce real cuts in spending," Boehner said. The committee would include three Republicans and three Democrats from both the House and the Senate. "There really are Democrats who want to cut spending," Boehner added.
Recommendations by the panel, which Boehner calls a "joint select committee," would require an automatic up-or-down vote by Congress, the Speaker said. Savings from spending cuts would accumulate over time.
This was Boehner's third call to Limbaugh's show in the past week. Limbaugh's show guarantees a large audience of conservative Republicans.
Last Friday, Boehner called off deficit negotiations with the White House, resulting in a scramble by both parties to present competing plans to tackle the federal deficit and raise the debt ceiling before the Treasury Department's Aug. 2 deadline.
Missing the deadline is not the greatest risk in reaching a deficit deal, Boehner said. According to Limbaugh, Boehner told him the GOP is planning to wait until "very close to the deadline to present this whole plan to Obama."