Washington – Citing differences over tax revenues, House Speaker John A. Boehner on Saturday night said he would drop his push with President Obama for a far-reaching, $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan tied to a proposal to increase the federal debt limit.
On the eve of a second round of high-level bipartisan talks set for Sunday, Mr. Boehner issued a statement saying he would now urge negotiators to instead focus on trying to craft a smaller package more in line with the $2 trillion in cuts negotiated by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
“Despite good-faith efforts to find common ground, the White House will not pursue a bigger debt reduction agreement without tax hikes,” Mr. Boehner said. “I believe the best approach may be to focus on producing a smaller measure, based on the cuts identified in the Biden-led negotiations, that still meets our call for spending reforms and cuts greater than the amount of any debt limit increase.”
Mr. Boehner and the president met privately at the White House last weekend and the speaker along with the president was a chief advocate of trying to negotiate a large agreement that would include spending cuts, new tax revenues and significant changes to social programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and perhaps even Social Security.
But the speaker, who had suggested Congress could perhaps produce as much as $1 trillion in new revenues, was encountering stiff resistance from fellow Republicans who are determined not to support any package containing proposals that could be construed as a tax increase.