John Boehner’s vocabulary isn’t exactly family-friendly these days.
As the deadline to avoid the sequester approaches, the House Speaker is trying to pin the blame all over President Obama and the Democrats, arguing that his chamber has already passed two bills to avoid the across-the-board spending cuts.
“We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something,” the Ohio Republican said on Tuesday. “The American people know if the president gets more money they’re going to spend it. The fact is that he’s gotten his tax hikes. It’s time to focus on the real problem here in Washington and that’s spending.”
Last year, House GOPers barely passed legislation (which Boehner was referring to) to offset the sequester with alernative savings. That, however, expired at the start of the new Congress this year. It’s not clear if the GOPer could get enough votes to pass a new plan. Boehner added the House was prepared to “move quickly” if the Senate passes a bill.
Clearly, Democrats and Republicans are at an impasse. The left has a plan that would essentially delay the sequester until next January and replace it with a $110 billion mixture of tax increases and spending cuts. The GOP, which is working on its own plan, has said it won’t accept any type of bargain that includes new taxes. The Senate is expected to vote on the different plans this week.
If no deal is reached, the cuts begin taking effect this week. There are $85 billion in reductions this year, and $1.2 trillion over a decade, coming from the Pentagon and discretionary spending. The White House is issuing stern warnings, highlighting what would happen in all 50 states if Congress fails to intervene.
While Boehner was griping in D.C., Obama went to a factory in Newport News, Va., the largest manufacturing employer in the state. The president told workers, many of whom build ships, that their jobs were “in jeopardy” and that the sequester would “weaken our military readiness” unless the GOP could compromise on a plan that includes higher tax revenue from the wealthy.
Boehner insisted Obama is using “our military men and women as a prop in yet another campaign rally to support his tax hikes.”
Some GOPers have showed a willingness to compromise. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he was open to increasing taxes if there was an overhaul on entitlement programs. “I’ll raise revenue. Will you [Obama] reform entitlements?” he said on CNN.
Republican Congressman Scott Rigell accompanied Obama on Air Force—the first GOPer on the First Plane in nine months – during his trip to Virginia. According to NBC News, he said on the plane that the notion that the GOP “will reject a proposal if it has even a dollar increase in revenue” is “not a wise position.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is arguing Boehner would lose his speakership if he greenlights any new tax revenues to avoid the spending cuts.
“I don’t quite honestly think that Speaker Boehner would be speaker if that happens,” the Republican said on Fox News. “I think he would lose his speakership.”
It certainly doesn’t look like Boehner will thaw, anyway.
“The president says we have to have another tax increase in order to avoid the sequester,” he said. “Well Mr. President you got your tax increase,” referring to the fiscal-cliff-avoiding deal that raised tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. “It’s time to cut spending.”
For more on the sequester gridlock, watch the video above. Former Rep. Marjorie Margolies (D-PA) and Former Rep. Steve Latourette (R-OH) weighed in on Tuesday’s Hardball.