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Comprehensive Debt-Reduction Efforts Abandoned By House Speaker

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) abandoned efforts to reach a comprehensive debt-reduction deal, stating on July 9th that, in spite of efforts to reach a debt reduction agreement, the White House would not agree without significant tax increases. "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," said Boehner in a statement released less than 24 hours before the White House meeting was scheduled to begin.

Boehner's original stance on the issue was to "go big" and reach an agreement that would save more than $4 trillion over the next ten years. It would have been the largest debt-reduction package in at least 20 years, striking all the major areas of government spending. But this idea began to crumble under President Obama's resolve to seek considerable new tax revenue.

It appears that the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak, was the failure to reach an agreement with the White House on a strategy that would have allowed the Bush-era tax cuts for the nation's wealthiest households to expire next year. Though Democrats were quick to accuse Boehner of placing tax breaks for the rich above the nation's financial salvation, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement, "We cannot ask the middle-class and seniors to bear all the burden of higher costs and budget cuts. We need a balanced approach that asks the very wealthiest and special interests to pay their fair share as well, and we believe the American people agree."

In accordance with Boehner's new decision, negotiators are re-examining the matter and considering a less ambitious approach under a framework that had been under discussion between Vice President Biden and a bipartisan group of lawmakers. That framework was aimed at saving approximately $2.4 trillion over the next ten years.

Categories: Financial News
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