Congressional leadership reacted on Friday after House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio., ended debt limit talks with the White House.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.:
"Tonight, months after we had begun negotiations with President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the Administration, Speaker Boehner and I are ending discussions with the White House and beginning conversations with Senate leaders in the hopes of finding a solution to the debt limit debate in order to avoid default. Throughout the months of discussions, we have worked to identify real spending cuts, binding budget reforms, structural changes to save our entitlement programs, and significant debt reduction. Unfortunately, time and again these talks have reached an impasse for one reason: the Democrats’ insistence on raising taxes on small businesses and working families. We must get Washington’s fiscal house in order, but with millions of Americans out of work, the worst thing Washington can do is to raise taxes on those we need to start hiring again. Washington has a spending problem, and until that is fixed, raising taxes is simply asking the American people to send more money to be spent inefficiently.
"In recent days, Speaker Boehner and I have engaged in discussions at the White House with the goal of doing something big to address our debt crisis, just as we did in the House Republican Budget. During these discussions, it became clear that the White House has a fundamental philosophical difference about how we stop spending, begin to get our fiscal house in order and manage down our debt. Contrary to news reports, a deal was never reached with the White House and a deal was never close with the White House – especially after the President insisted on more tax revenue after the Gang of Six plan was released. America will pay its bills and meet its obligations, and in coming days we will offer a path forward that meets the President’s request for a debt limit increase, manages down the debt, and achieves serious spending cuts."
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:
“Speaker Boehner has informed us that he will work on a new path forward with Leader Reid to develop a solution that will prevent default, without job killing tax hikes, while substantially reducing Washington spending,” McConnell said in a statement. “As I’ve said before, it’s time now for the debate to move out of a room in the White House and on to the House and Senate floors where we can debate the best approach to reducing the nation’s unsustainable debt.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.:
“Republicans have once again proven unable to overcome their ideological opposition to ending taxpayer-funded giveaways for millionaires, corporate jet owners and oil companies. I applaud President Obama for insisting that any deal to reduce our deficit be balanced between cuts and revenues. We must avert a default at all costs, so it is time to reengage in bipartisan talks on an agreement that at least accomplishes that goal. I agree with President Obama that a short-term extension is unacceptable.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:
"Speaker Boehner's adult moment is long overdue.
"Our economy, our children's education, our seniors' security and our nation's fiscal soundness require that we act without further delay.
"Democrats have been prepared to support President Obama's call for a grand bargain, which enables us to create jobs, protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
"We are prepared to compromise consistent with our values, but we will not accept a short-term extension that compromises our economic security."
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.:
“House Republicans have said from the start that tax increases cannot pass through the House. This is a fundamental point of contention, and we will not allow more policies to be enacted that will further damage our economy and endanger job creation.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md.:
“Unfortunately, included in Speaker Boehner’s offer was an unrelated demand that a portion of the Affordable Care Act be repealed - which would neither help America pay its bills or reduce the deficit.”
“By once again walking away, Republicans have put at risk America’s ability to pay its bills. Every American is also put at risk by this action” said Hoyer in a statement, adding, “The markets have made clear that a short-term extension is not sufficient and would result in very serious consequences.”
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill.:
“Republicans have repeatedly walked away from serious debt talks, insisting the best way to prevent a default of our nation’s debt is to protect tax breaks for millionaires and oil companies and balance the budget on the backs of the middle class and the poor. They were wrong before and they are wrong now.
The only solution to our debt crisis is a balanced approach that raises revenues and cuts spending. Our focus now should be on avoiding a default and the catastrophic consequences it would have on our economy. Short term solutions are not enough. It’s time for bipartisan leadership, not partisan gamesmanship.”
House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.:
“The time is now for the Speaker to assert leadership over the fringe elements of his own party and have the adult moment that he promised months ago. Their rigid ideology and refusal to compromise on a balanced approach threatens American jobs and our fragile economic recovery, and it is deeply irresponsible."
House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Xavier Becerra, D-Calif.:
Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah:
“The Speaker is a man of conviction who understands what’s at stake for our nation if we don’t seriously confront our over $14 trillion debt, but if we do raise taxes at a time when our economy is weak and unemployment remains dangerously high. Federal spending and the growth of Washington is the cause of our fiscal woes. That is the simple fact that everyone seems to understand, but this President. Unfortunately, this White House tries to talk a good game, but at every turn refuse to present the American people with a reasonable plan to slash our debt or work with Republicans in a meaningful way. There is a path forward, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of hard-working American workers, small businesses, and investors whose struggle to make ends meet would be worse under the burden of more taxes.”