House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) declared Tuesday that raising taxes is “off the table” in negotiations on deficit reduction, prompting a White House complaint that such “maximalist positions” do not lead to compromise.
The White House also denounced Boehner’s demand a day earlier for more than $2 trillion in spending cuts in exchange for Republican agreement to raise the U.S. debt limit. Press secretary Jay Carney likened the demand to a hostage-taking, telling reporters, “It is folly to hold hostage the vote to raise the debt ceiling . . . to any other piece of legislation.” He said increasing the debt limit is intended to prevent the United States “from defaulting on its obligations.”
In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show ahead of a new round of deficit-reduction talks hosted by Vice President Biden, Boehner appeared to rule out any compromise with Democrats on allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for wealthy Americans to expire or ending tax breaks worth billions of dollars to large oil companies making record profits. Republicans define both steps as tax increases.