(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday warned that the U.S. economy will get “a hell of a lot worse” if Congress fails to address the country’s long-term debt woes, but he acknowledged that Republicans and Democrats must “find more common ground if we’re going to be successful.”
“I’m never going to give up on making the changes necessary to get our deficit and our debt under control because if we don’t the future for our kids and grandkids is going to be pretty bleak,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters in Washington. “If you look at what happened with the supercommittee, it’s not a whole lot different than what happened in the conversations between President Obama and myself and Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell and myself later in the summer. There’s got to be a balance to this if it’s going to happen, [but] both of our views of what is balanced still have room between us.”
Although the supercommittee failed to come up a deal to cut $1.5 trillion from the deficit over the next decade, he praised the bipartisan panel for a “great job” and pointed out that the sequestration mechanism will still compel Congress to cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit by 2013. While the president has threatened to veto any legislation that attempts to tinker with the automatic cuts, Boehner seemed open to changes.
“It’s unfortunate they weren’t able to come to an agreement, but understand this: there is going to be $1.2 trillion of further cuts to meet our commitment and I think having the sequester in place to ensure that we’re going to get our spending problem under control is a good thing,” he said. “I would prefer, and I think all of our members would prefer, that we do this in a more responsible way.” Those cuts include slashing the defense budget, which Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said will be "devastating" to the U.S. military.
Boehner once again called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to move a host of House-passed measures which the speaker said “would help create a better environment for job creation.”
“American families and small businesses continue to struggle in this difficult economy,” he said. “They’re good solid pieces of legislation all passed with bipartisan support and they deserve the consideration of the United States Senate.”
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