WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) says the debate over increased revenue "is now closed."
He's responding to the latest salvo from President Barack Obama, who today warned that the jobs of essential government workers are on the line because Republicans are unwilling to raise taxes to reduce deficits.
With a March first deadline approaching, Democrats and Republicans are in an apparent stalemate over how to avoid $85 billion in immediate cuts. Obama says government workers who'd be affected would include furloughed FBI agents. And he said communities would see reduced spending to pay police and fire personnel and teachers.
House Republicans have proposed an alternative to the immediate cuts -- targeting some spending and extending some reductions over a longer period of time. They've also said they're willing to make changes in the tax code, and eliminate loopholes and tax subsidies. But they've said their changes would be aimed at reducing tax rates. Obama won an increase at the start of the year, when Congress increased the upper tax rate for the wealthiest Americans.
In a statement after Obama's remarks, Boehner said, "Spending is the problem, spending must be the focus."