Boehner: Obama holding entitlement reform 'hostage' for tax hikes

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NBC News

President Barack Obama's budget is expected to contain an additional $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years -- including a measure to change the way cost-of-living increases are calculated for Social Security recipients. 

The outline, which mirrors an abandoned compromise offer from the White House to House Speaker John Boehner last year, is already causing griping on the left because the entitlement changes would effectively decrease payments to beneficiaries.

But the budget isn’t exactly getting a ringing endorsement from Boehner either. The House Speaker said in a statement Friday that the White House is holding the entitlement reforms "hostage" by asking for further revenues.

Boehner's full statement follows:

"The president and I were not able to reach an agreement late last year because his offers never lived up to his rhetoric. Despite talk about so-called balance, the president's last offer was significantly skewed in favor of higher taxes and included only modest entitlement savings. He said he could go no further toward the  middle, and that's why his last offer was rejected.  In the end, the president got his tax hikes on the wealthy with no corresponding spending cuts. At some point we need to solve our spending problem, and what the president has offered would leave us with a budget that never balances.  In reality, he's moved in the wrong direction, routinely taking off the table entitlement reforms he's previously told me he could support.

"When the president visited the Capitol last month, House Republicans stated a desire to find common ground and urged him not to make savings we agree upon conditional on another round of tax increases. If reports are accurate, the president has not heeded that call. If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there's no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes. That's no way to lead and move the country forward."

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