House Speaker John Boehner is laying down the law to the special committee charged with long-term debt reduction -- he will not accept tax increases as part of any plan.
“When it comes to producing savings to reach its $1.5 trillion deficit reduction target, the Joint Select Committee has only one option: spending cuts and entitlement reform,” Boehner said, according to prepared remarks in an address to the Economic Club of Washington on Thursday.
The Washington Post reports that this speech marks the first time Boehner has said that the so called "super-committee" cannot raise taxes as part of any compromise to lower the debt.
Boehner also said he thinks simply letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of the year amounts to a tax hike.
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"I would call it a tax increase. When you raise somebody’s taxes, it’s a tax increase,” Boehner said to applause from the crowd. President Obama has gone on record as saying he would like the tax cuts to expire for the richest of Americans.
Boehner said he would not oppose tax reform as part of the committee's work, but not as means of raising revenue for the government.
“The committee can develop principles for broad-based tax reform that will lower rates for individuals and corporations while closing deductions, credits, and special carve-outs in our tax code. And I hope it will,” he said. “Yes, tax reform should include closing loopholes. Not for purposes of bringing more money to the government. But because it’s the right thing to do.”
The committee must figure out a way by Thanksgiving to reduce deficits by $1.5 trillion over the next decade or else $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts will be enacted.