Boehner says he’s staying as speaker after ‘fiscal cliff’ failure

  • Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Hopes for avoiding the "fiscal cliff" that threatens the U.S. economy fell Friday after fighting among congressional Republicans cast doubt on whether any deal reached with President Barack Obama could win approval ahead of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts kick in Jan. 1.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Hopes for avoiding the "fiscal cliff" that threatens the U.S. economy fell Friday after fighting among congressional Republicans cast doubt on whether any deal reached with President Barack Obama could win approval ahead of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts kick in Jan. 1. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Hopes for avoiding the "fiscal cliff" that threatens the U.S. economy fell Friday after fighting among congressional Republicans cast doubt on whether any deal reached with President Barack Obama could win approval ahead of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts kick in Jan. 1.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Hopes for avoiding the "fiscal cliff" that threatens the U.S. economy fell Friday after fighting among congressional Republicans cast doubt on whether any deal reached with President Barack Obama could win approval ahead of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts kick in Jan. 1. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Hopes for avoiding the "fiscal cliff" that threatens the U.S. economy fell Friday after fighting among congressional Republicans cast doubt on whether any deal reached with President Barack Obama could win approval ahead of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts kick in Jan. 1.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Hopes for avoiding the "fiscal cliff" that threatens the U.S. economy fell Friday after fighting among congressional Republicans cast doubt on whether any deal reached with President Barack Obama could win approval ahead of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts kick in Jan. 1. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Hopes for avoiding the "fiscal cliff" that threatens the U.S. economy fell Friday after fighting among congressional Republicans cast doubt on whether any deal reached with President Barack Obama could win approval ahead of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts kick in Jan. 1.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Hopes for avoiding the "fiscal cliff" that threatens the U.S. economy fell Friday after fighting among congressional Republicans cast doubt on whether any deal reached with President Barack Obama could win approval ahead of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts kick in Jan. 1. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, left, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., returns to his office after speaking to reporters on the fiscal cliff negotiations, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Hopes for avoiding the "fiscal cliff" that threatens the U.S. economy fell Friday after fighting among congressional Republicans cast doubt on whether any deal reached with President Barack Obama could win approval ahead of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts kick in Jan. 1.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, left, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., returns to his office after speaking to reporters on the fiscal cliff negotiations, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Hopes for avoiding the "fiscal cliff" that threatens the U.S. economy fell Friday after fighting among congressional Republicans cast doubt on whether any deal reached with President Barack Obama could win approval ahead of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts kick in Jan. 1. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, second from left, departs after a House Republicans meeting on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 in Washington. Confronted with a revolt among the rank and file, House Republicans abruptly put off a vote Thursday night on legislation allowing tax rates to rise for households earning $1 million and up.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, second from left, departs after a House Republicans meeting on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 in Washington. Confronted with a revolt among the rank and file, House Republicans abruptly put off a vote Thursday night on legislation allowing tax rates to rise for households earning $1 million and up.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, departs, with reporters nearby after a House Republicans meeting on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 in Washington. Confronted with a revolt among the rank and file, House Republicans abruptly put off a vote Thursday night on legislation allowing tax rates to rise for households earning $1 million and up.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, departs, with reporters nearby after a House Republicans meeting on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 in Washington. Confronted with a revolt among the rank and file, House Republicans abruptly put off a vote Thursday night on legislation allowing tax rates to rise for households earning $1 million and up.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Hours after his fellow Republicans delivered a crushing blow to him, House Speaker John A. Boehner said Friday morning the rebellion wasn’t aimed at him, but rather at federal spending.

He also laughed off talk that he may lose his speakership.

“While we may have not been able to get the votes last night to avert 99.81 percent of the tax increases, I don’t think — they weren’t taking that out on me,” he said at a press conference.

Joining him was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the man who had been seen as his chief rival, in a show of unity that seemed designed to quell any talk of a challenge to Mr. Boehner’s speakership.

Late Thursday, Mr. Boehner’s “fiscal cliff” Plan B collapsed when too many conservatives in his own caucus told him they couldn’t support it. It would have extended tax cuts for most Americans but would have let rates rise on those making more than $1 million, which conservatives said was still a tax increase.

Speaking to reporters Friday morning, Mr. Boehner offered no concrete path forward.

He ruled out turning off the $110 billion in automatic spending cuts looming on Jan. 2, and said the message he takes from his fellow House Republicans is that the focus going forward must be on cutting spending.

“What the president has proposed so far simply won’t do anything to solve our spending problem,” he said.

Thursday’s action leaves Mr. Boehner with little leverage in his negotiations with President Obama.

The White House said Mr. Obama is still eager to work out a deal with Mr. Boehner, but the Ohio Republican and Mr. Cantor seemed to place the burden on the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to take the next step and propose a solution.

Mr. Boehner said the House has already passed bills to halt the tax increases and spending cuts that make up the fiscal cliff, and said it’s now up to Democrats to do something.

He said if Mr. Reid wants the House to take up a plan to raise taxes on those making $250,000 or more, he’ll have to pass that version through the Senate and send it over.

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