CINCINNATI (AP) - House GOP leader John Boehner renewed his call Saturday to stimulate the economy with tax cuts alone, criticizing a Democratic proposal to spend $550 billion as he made the party's first weekly radio address since President Obama took office.
Congressional Republicans are at odds with Democrat Obama over plans to stimulate the economy.
House Democrats are pushing a $825 billion proposal that would include tax credits and spending for various projects. "Our plan is rooted in the philosophy that we cannot borrow and spend our way back to prosperity," said Boehner, who is from suburban West Chester.
House Republican leaders met with Obama on Friday and presented their ideas to help the economy, rejecting spending proposals while embracing tax cuts. The GOP also would lift taxes on unemployment benefits, provide a $7,500 break for some home buyers, and give tax cuts to small businesses.
The Democrats' proposal includes $275 billion in tax cuts and $550 billion in new spending, much of it on health care, road construction and schools hurt by state budget cutbacks. Key elements of the Democrats' proposal were approved in committee without GOP backing. Obama sided with the proposal during his meeting Friday with Congressional leaders. He hopes to have a bill on his desk for signing into law by the middle of February.
Boehner rejected the idea that government spending would help the country. "Unfortunately, the trillion-dollar spending plan authored by congressional Democrats is chock-full of government programs and projects, most of which won't provide immediate relief to our ailing economy, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office," Boehner said.
A White House spokesman said Friday that Peter Orszag, the administration's new budget director, estimates that at least 75 percent of the money would go directly into the economy in the first 18 months. Obama promised to meet with congressional Republicans next week about their suggestions. Before meeting them Friday, Obama acknowledged that the scope of the relief package was difficult for some to accept.
"I know that it is a heavy lift to do something as substantial as we're doing right now," Obama said. "I recognize that there are still some differences around the table and between the administration and members of Congress about particular details of the plan."
Boehner reiterated his openness to working with the new administration. "Someone has to look out for the taxpayer in this process, and Republicans are going to do just that," Boehner said.