House Speaker John Boehner gave these remarks on the fiscal cliff on November 30, 2012, following President Obama's speech in Pennsylvania.
[Editor's Note: Click here for more CFR 2012 resources examining the foreign policy and national security dimensions of the presidential transition.]
The president traveled to a small business in Pennsylvania today to talk about the fiscal cliff. Unfortunately, it is the president and members of his own party who are proposing that we let many small businesses, as in hundreds of thousands of them, go over the fiscal cliff. Simply put, that's why we don't have an agreement as yet.
"As I said yesterday, this is not a game. I used to be a small business owner. Small business owners are regular men and women from all backgrounds, who in today's economy are facing challenges on a daily basis. The president's tax increase would be another crippling blow for them while doing little to nothing to solve the bigger problem here, which is our national deficit and our national debt.
"This debt doesn't exist because we don't tax small businesses enough. It exists because Washington continues to spend too much.
"Raising taxes on small businesses instead of taking a balanced approach that also cuts spending is wrong. It's only going to make it harder for our economy to grow. And if our economy doesn't grow, Americans don't get new jobs and the debt problem that we have will continue to threaten our children's future.
"As I said the day after the election, Republicans are not seeking to impose our will on the president. We're seeking a bipartisan solution that can pass both chambers of Congress, and be signed into law by the president in the coming days.
"During the campaign, the president pledged to the American people that he would seek a balanced approach to addressing the debt – a combination of new revenues and spending cuts. So the day after the election, I said the Republican majority would accept new revenue as part of a balanced approach that includes real spending cuts and reforms. Now the White House took three weeks to respond with any kind of a proposal, and much to my disappointment, it wasn't a serious one.
"Still, I'm willing to move forward in good faith. Our original framework still stands.
"Instead of raising tax rates, we can produce a similar amount of revenue [by] reforming the tax code to close loopholes and lower tax rates. That's far better for the economy, and the American people actually favor that approach by two-to-one. They favor it even more when we can also show them that real spending cuts will, in fact, reduce the deficit.
"Now there have been many conversations over the last couple of years that could inform a solution. And I hope the president will draw from those discussions and work with both parties to find common ground.
"Solving the fiscal cliff in a manner that addresses the true drivers of our debt and saves American jobs would be a great way for the president to start his second term. For the good of the country, and my colleagues, we're ready to work with the president to achieve those goals.