Boehner: Obama not being upfront about problem of deficit

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) accused President Obama of not being upfront with Americans about the country’s fiscal problems, and criticized the president for not embracing more of his own fiscal commission’s ideas. 

In an interview with ABC News, Boehner said that he and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the minority leader in the upper chamber, had stressed to Obama on the day of the president’s deficit-reduction speech that they would not get behind any plan that raised taxes.

“Then the president goes out that same afternoon and gives this partisan, political campaign speech that frankly, I was — I can’t tell you how disappointed I was in the president in not being honest with the American people about the big problems that we face,” Boehner said. “And the fact that it’s time to own up, fess up and quit whistling past the graveyard.”

{mosads}Other top Republicans such as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the House Budget Committee chairman and architect of the House GOP’s fiscal 2012 budget, have also called the president’s April 13 speech excessively partisan.

In that speech, Obama laid out a vision for reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over a dozen years that he said would borrow from the fiscal commission led by Erskine Bowles, a White House chief of staff under former President Clinton, and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.). 

But in his ABC News interview, Boehner got agitated while criticizing Obama for not supporting any of the concrete ideas the debt panel had proposed. 

“Not one. Come on!” Boehner said. “It’s time to grow up and get serious about the problems that face our country.”

The Speaker also reiterated his support for the Ryan budget, haltingly at first, saying that the private sector would do a better job running Medicare. (The House proposal would turn the entitlement program into a sort of voucher system.)

And Boehner pushed back on poll results that suggest Americans strongly support higher taxes on the wealthy to help battle budget deficits.

“It’s the old adage that legislators talk about,” he said. “ ‘Don’t tax me, don’t tax me. But tax the man behind the tree.’ ”

Tags Boehner John Boehner Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan

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