Conservative groups slam reported Boehner concessions in talks

The conservative groups Club for Growth and Heritage Action on Monday lashed out over reported concessions by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in secret budget negotiations with President Obama.

Boehner has reportedly offered to concede on raising some tax rates and is floating a one-year debt-ceiling extension in exchange for spending cuts.

“The proposal, as reported, represents a clear path toward surrender on conservative principles. Rather than fighting for real reforms that would actually solve the problem, GOP negotiators seem intent on negotiating with themselves in hopes of striking a grand bargain that will ultimately fail, as so many others have before,” said Dan Holler of Heritage Action. 

“First Speaker Boehner offered to raise tax rates after promising not to, and now he’s offering to raise the debt ceiling. Raising tax rates is anti-growth and raising the debt ceiling is pro-government growth – and this is the Republican position?” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a separate statement.

Boehner on Friday offered to allow rates on taxpayers earning above $1 million annually to rise, a tentative concession for the Speaker, who had previously offered new revenue only from loophole closings. The rate increase is conditioned on Obama agreeing to new spending cuts. Reports said Obama had rejected Boehner's offer. The nearly $1 trillion in revenue Boehner has put on the table is still $400 billion short of what Obama has sought by calling for rate increases on those making $250,000 or more per year.

“Instead of raising the debt ceiling, the Republicans should use it to force President Obama and the Democrats to accept structural reforms to entitlements, which are the drivers of our debt,” Chocola added. “Our nation can’t afford to keep its addiction to spending another year. Ignoring our spending problem is to ignore reality.”

The U.S. is within weeks of reaching the $16.4 trillion debt limit set by Congress. 

Boehner’s office has said the Speaker continues to link any debt-ceiling increases to large spending cuts and entitlement reforms.

“Our position has not changed,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told The Hill. “Any debt limit increase would require cuts and reforms of a greater amount."

Club for Growth and Heritage Action, along with Americans for Tax Reform, play major roles in shaping opinion in Boehner’s House GOP conference. 

The swift response from the Club and Heritage is another indication that if a deal were cut with the White House that has tax and debt-ceiling increases in it, leadership would have a major vote-whipping task in front of it.

This story was updated at 11:02 a.m.