House Speaker John Boehner gave these remarks, regarding the fiscal cliff and spending cuts, in the House on December 11, 2012.
[Editor's Note: Click here for more CFR 2012 resources examining the foreign policy and national security dimensions of the presidential transition.]
"Mr. Speaker, last week, Republicans made a serious offer to avert the fiscal cliff, and most of it was based on testimony given last year by President Clinton's former chief of staff, Erskine Bowles. And as Mr. Bowles himself said on Sunday: 'we have to cut spending.'
"Well he's right. Washington has a spending problem. Let's be honest - we're broke. And the plan that we've offered is consistent with the president's call for a 'balanced approach.'
"A lot of people know that the president and I met on Sunday. It was a nice meeting, it was cordial. But we're still waiting for the White House to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make as part of the 'balanced approach' that he promised the American people.
"You know, where are the president's spending cuts? The longer the White House slow-walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff.
"Well here's what we do know. We know that the president wants more 'stimulus' spending and an increase in the debt limit without any cuts or reforms. That's not fixing our problem. Frankly, it's making it worse.
"And on top of that, the president wants to raise tax rates on many small business owners. Now even if we did exactly what the president wants, we would see red ink for as far as the eye can see. That's not fixing our problem either – it's making it worse and it's hurting our economy.
"I think the members know, I'm an optimist. I'm hopeful that we can reach an agreement. This is a serious issue and there's a lot at stake. The American people sent us here to work together towards the best possible solution, and that means cutting spending.
"Now if the president doesn't agree with our approach, he's got an obligation to put forward a plan that can pass both chambers of the Congress. Because right now the American people have to be scratching their heads and wondering, 'when is the president going to get serious?'"