- ‘I Am Alive’ app gains popularity in terror-ravaged Lebanon
- Gun giveaways gain popularity among Republican candidates
- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
- John Edwards back in court — this time as a lawyer for Va. boy’s malpractice case
- Covered California reports more than 200K in overtime Obamacare sign-ups
- Thanks, Chuck: Hagel says U.S. sending Ukraine sleeping mats, helmets
McConnell and Boehner: Republicans united on sequesters
They spent the weekend blaming each other for the $85 billion in sequestration cuts that began taking effect Friday — but top Democrats and Republicans were careful Sunday to keep the door open to a breakthrough deal on the federal budget.
Both sides claimed to find the sequestration abhorrent, but leaders from both parties stressed Sunday that they now have an opportunity to find the “big deal” — one that tackles politically treacherous territory such as entitlement reform and an overhaul of the tax code — that has eluded Washington for the past two years.
“We can do the big deal if we have some leadership,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I’m not going to do any more small deals.”
Like virtually all other Republicans, Mr. Graham said he absolutely will not accept tax rate hikes to solve the sequestration mess, which both parties agree is not the ideal way to cut federal spending.
But Mr. Graham said he is open to the type of major agreement that would raise about $600 billion in revenue by closing tax loopholes and eliminating deductions. That money, he said, then could be put toward reforming Medicare and other entitlement programs.
The two sides have until the end of this month to achieve such a deal. The resolution funding federal government operations expires at the end of March, meaning yet another showdown, this time to avoid a Washington shutdown, is right around the corner.
That standoff carries with it an opening for compromise, said Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat and his party’s No. 2 man in the Senate.
“We have to agree how to finish the [fiscal] year. It creates an opportunity for us to sit down, the president and congressional leaders, and come up with an answer that is sensible,” he said, also appearing on “Face the Nation.”
“I am certain the president would sit down and work in good faith to get us through this,” he added.
Even Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s vanquished 2012 presidential nominee, chimed in from the sidelines Sunday morning and urged Mr. Obama and congressional leaders to find a lasting solution.
Congress has to approve another short-term spending plan by March 27 or face a government shutdown, and another debate over the debt ceiling looms in May.
Bracing for these additional budget battles, top Republicans in the House and Senate reiterated their absolute opposition to further tax increases.
House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said the White House should not expect any more concessions on taxes after the New Year’s deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.
“I’m going to say it one more time: The president got his tax hikes on January the 1st. The issue here is spending. Spending is out of control,” Mr. Boehner said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” an interview that was taped Friday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, echoed those sentiments on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He said no Republican is “willing to raise a dime in taxes to turn off the sequester.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A distant third: Joe Biden struggles for traction in early 2016 jousting
- Obama conciliatory on immigration
- Obama: Conversation with Cantor was 'friendly'
- Obama: 'Our hearts ache' over South Korean ferry tragedy
- Beau Biden announces Delaware gubernatorial bid
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Joy Overbeck
Redemption by government is futile
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- Obama taunts GOP, takes nationally televised victory lap on Obamacare
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Elderly Chicago man robs bank to go 'home' to prison; judge fulfills his desire
- Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch wrecked by retreating feds
- Chavez seizes Cargill factory
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.