At a press conference Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was given his first real chance to walk back his comments from earlier in the week, when he shrugged “so be it” at job losses expected as a result of GOP spending cuts.
He didn’t exactly walk it back, but he didn’t double down either.
“I don’t want anyone to lose their job, whether they’re a federal employee or not,” Boehner said. “But come on! We’re broke! We’ve got to make tough decisions.”
It’s a pretty remarkable, and frankly honest, assessment of the GOP position. Boehner acknowledges what most economists acknowledge these cuts will cost jobs. But he thinks it’s the lesser of two evils, when weighed against leaving spending levels where they are right now.
Before House appropriators unveiled their spending legislation, I checked in with other Republicans about the job impact of various proposed spending cuts, and for the most part they dodged the empirical question. The private sector would swoop in to catch people whose jobs were eliminated, they contended.
Other economist estimate that the spending cuts, as proposed, would cost almost 1 million people their jobs — both in and out of government.
Boehner isn’t pretending there will be an immediate safety net for these people. And yet he’s sticking to his guns.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.