In addition to teeing up another debt limit fight for the lame duck session of Congress later this year, by demanding dollar-for-dollar budget cuts in exchange for new borrowing authority, House Speaker John Boehner also insists that regardless of the election outcome, Republicans will reject higher taxes on wealthy Americans in that fight.
And to build leverage for the GOP position, he announced Tuesday that House Republicans will pass legislation before the election to extend the Bush tax cuts indefinitely.
“What also doesn’t count as ‘cuts and reforms’ are tax increases,” Boehner will say before the annual Pete Peterson Fiscal Summit in Washington, DC, according to prepared remarks. “Any sudden tax hike would hurt our economy, so this fall - before the election - the House of Representatives will vote to stop the largest tax increase in American history.”
Boehner’s rhetoric hasn’t changed since the last debt limit fight, despite dire consequences for the economy and a deal to avert an economic crisis that his party was unable to uphold.
“Allowing America to default would be irresponsible,” he will say. “But it would be more irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without taking dramatic steps to reduce spending and reform the budget process.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday President Obama will not engage in another debt limit fight — and its hard to imagine Republicans provoking one if they lose the election in November. But that’s exactly what Boehner says he’ll do — in part because he’ll face no political consequences later in his career.
“Previous Congresses have encountered lesser precipices with lower stakes, and made a beeline for the closest lame-duck escape hatch,” Boehner will note. “Let me put your mind at ease. This Congress will not follow that path, not if I have anything to do with it….. This is the last position in government I will hold.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.