WASHINGTON, March 18 (UPI) —
The United States doesn’t face an immediate debt crisis, but entitlements must still be reformed to avoid one that lies ahead, House Speaker John Boehner says.
And any talk about including revenue to address the government’s $16 trillion debt “is over,” the Ohio Republican says.
When asked how long Congress and the White House has before the crisis hits, Boehner said: “Nobody knows where this is. It could be a year or two years, three years, four years.”
He said he agreed with President Barack Obama, who told ABC’s “Good Morning America” last week, “We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt.”
But Boehner took issue with Obama’s assertion it doesn’t make sense to “chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance.”
Cutting spending to help balance the budget will “help our economy,” Boehner said.
House Republicans proposed a spending plan last week that promises to balance the budget in 10 years, in part by transforming Medicare and Medicaid, overhauling the tax code to lower rates and ensuring no Pentagon cuts.
As for any chance of working out a deal with the White House to help balance the budget and reduce the debt by increasing revenue, Boehner said that discussion has timed out.
When asked if he saw a way of including both entitlement cuts and new revenues in any proportion, Boehner repeated, “The president got his tax hikes on January the 1st,” but didn’t answer the question.