Boehner Did Not Rule Out Tax Revenues to Prevent Sequestration

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In recent days, as $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts—a.k.a. sequestration—have neared, Republicans have tried mightily to depict this indiscriminate slashing as President Barack Obama’s doing (while also accusing Obama of fear-mongering regarding the cuts’ recessionary impacts). They have gleefully asserted that it was the White House that first suggested sequestration as a means to resolve the debt ceiling impasse created by GOPers in 2011. But their accusation has been undermined by a fact recently highlighted in multiple media accounts: When they passed the sequestration bill, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top GOPers in Congress, each accepted sequestration as it was designed—that is, as a legislative doomsday machine that would force a so-called congressional supercommittee to come up with a deficit reduction plan to supplant these deep across-the-board cuts in defense and nondefense spending.

But there is a GOP fallback claim: The sequestration-defusing plan cooked up by the supercommittee was not supposed to have any tax revenue hikes in it. Consequently, the Republicans maintain, Obama is disingenuous now to call for side-stepping the sequestration with a “balanced” approach that includes spending cuts and revenues. Indeed, Boehner and other GOPers crowed at the time that the debt ceiling deal did not include any tax hikes. Yet the deal Boehner approved did nothing to limit the supercommittee to considering only cuts for a sequestration-ducking plan. The legislation did allow for the possibility of revenue boosts. In a fact sheet, the White House was explicit on this point, noting the supercommittee would ponder “both entitlement reform and revenue-raising tax reform.” And Boehner essentially acknowledged that at the time.

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Boehner Did Not Rule Out Tax Revenues to Prevent Sequestration

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