John Boehner laid out the House Republican position in the upcoming legislative debate on the fiscal cliff in remarks Wednesday afternoon. "Mr. President, the Republican majority here in the House stands ready to work with you to do what's best for our country," Boehner said, calling the massive national debt, now larger than the entire economy, our "greatest challenge of all."
The House speaker said he is requesting Barack Obama "make good on his balanced approach" for reducing the debt and avoiding the government's fiscal cliff.
Republicans, Boehner said, will not support simply raising tax rates to reduce this debt, citing the negative effect those rate hikes would have on economic growth. But, he continued, the House would be "willing to accept some additional revenues via tax reform." He cited the 1986 tax reform passed by Democratic House speaker Tip O'Neill and signed into law by Republican president Ronald Reagan as the "model" for tax reform. Boehner added that President Obama and the Democrat would have to give some on the expenditure side.
"In order to garner Republican support for new revenues, the president must be willing to reduce spending and shore up entitlement programs that are the primary drivers of our debt," Boehner said.