Boehner says Obama is inciting 'class warfare'

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday that President Obama is inciting class warfare "every day" as he pushes Congress to pass his jobs package.

"We are not going to engage in class warfare," Boehner said on ABC'S "This Week with Christiane Amanpour."  "[The] president's out there doing it every day. I, frankly, think it's unfortunate, because our job is to help all Americans, not to pit one set of Americans against another."

Obama, Boehner added, "is clearly trying to do [that]. And it's wrong."


Behind Obama, Democrats have urged Boehner and other GOP leaders to pass the president's $447 billion jobs legislation, which includes funding for infrastructure projects, teachers and first responders, but would also raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans – a move that's anathema to conservatives. 

Senate Republicans united to block that bill last month, and House GOP leaders have declined to take it up in the lower chamber.

Boehner pushed back against the notion that Republicans, by opposing the tax hikes, are merely protecting the rich.

"That's very unfair," Boehner said of that characterization. "The top 1 percent pay 38 percent of the income taxes in America. How much more do you want them to pay?"

The Speaker also rejected the idea that the cuts Republicans have endorsed this year in their efforts to reduce the deficit would harm poor Americans disproportionately.

"No one here in this Congress – Democrat or Republican – wants to do anything about putting holes in the safety net for Americans," Boehner said. "There are Americans who are poor. And I think it's the responsibility of the rest of us to ensure that they have food in their stomachs and they have a roof over their head."

As the clock ticks down toward the budget supercommittee's Nov. 23 deadline, Boehner said he's fully invested in sealing a deal. 

"I'm going to do everything that I can to ensure that the supercommittee is successful," he said.

The two sides on the deficit-reduction panel have traded proposals, but remain far apart on the thorny issues of revenues and tax reform.

Asked how much new revenue Republicans would support, Boehner on Sunday declined to hazard a guess.

"That's the 64 million dollar question," Boehner said. "Nobody knows."