House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) today called his failure to come to a deficit-reduction deal that would avert draconian sequestration cuts the lowest point of his tenure.
“I still look at my failure to come to an agreement with the president as the biggest disappointment of my speakership. But I don’t think there’s anybody that worked harder than Eric and I to try to work with the president to come to an agreement,” Boehner told reporters in a media availability following a caucus meeting.
“And, you know, there was a commitment on the part of the president and part of Senator Reid to work with us to get an outcome out of the super committee. And the fact that the super committee was unable to come to an agreement leaves us with a sequester,” he continued. “Why? Because the president didn’t want to have a second round of a fight over increasing the debt limit.”
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said this weekend that it was a “mistake” for Republicans to agree to a deal that would set deep cuts, including more than $600 billion in defense cuts, into action Jan. 3 should the super committee come up empty-handed on a deficit reduction agreement, as it did. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Romney’s running mate, defended his vote for the sequester, noting that House Republicans passed a bill to avert the defense cuts by slashing spending elsewhere but neither Senate Democrats nor President Obama have acted on it.
Boehner also said he’s “not confident at all” about reaching bipartisan agreement to avoid plunging off the fiscal cliff.
“Listen, the House has done its job on both the sequester and on the looming tax hikes that’ll cost our economy some 700,000 jobs. The Senate at some point has to act,” the speaker said.
“And on both of these, where’s the president? Where’s the leadership? Absent without leave.”