Boehner: White House, `Get Serious’ — McConnell Echoes Speaker

Photograph by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Speaker of the House John Boehner listens as President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with bipartisan group of congressional leaders about deficit reduction before the tax increases and automatic spending cuts go into affect in the new year.

Updated with McConnell comments at 1:15 pm EST

House Speaker John Boehner says the White House’s actions aren’t matching its rhetoric in the fiscal cliff talks.

“The White House has to get serious,” Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters this m0rning after meeting with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the administration’s emissary in the cliff talks. “I’m disappointed with where we are… but going over the fiscal cliff is serious business, and I’m here trying to resolve it, and I would hope the White House would get serious. ”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced the same sentiment after his own meeting with Geithner today.

President Barack Obama has said this week that he wants a “fair and balanced” approach to the talks — packaging spending cuts with tax increases for the wealthiest Americans. Obama telephoned Boehner last night.

“Despite the claims that the president supports a balanced approach, the Democrats have yet to get serious about spending cuts,” Boehner said this morning, calling his frustration a result of what he heard both from the president last night and the treasury secretary this morning.

“We’ve put real concessions on the line, by putting revenue on the table up front,” said Boehner, who opened these talks after the presidential election saying he’d accept some new revenue in the talks — contingent on spending cuts.  “Without spending cuts and entitlement reform, it’s going to be impossible to address our” deficit.

“It’s well past time for the administration to get serious about solving problems created by years of trillion-dollar deficits and kicking the can down the road,” McConnell said. “While Republicans have made a good-faith effort to move out of our comfort zones and find real solutions, the administration has yet to provide any realistic alternatives. We have a hard deadline here and the only reason we will go over the cliff is if the White House continues to fail to show the leadership necessary.”

Boehner, like Kentucky’s McConnell several days ago, also had some pointed words today for Obama’s plans to travel to Pennsylvania tomorrow to muster public support for his plans at a toy factory.

“This is not a game,” Boehner said. “Jobs are on the line. The American economy is on the line…. Campaign-style politics are not the way to get things done in Washington… Right now, all eyes are on the White House. The country doesn’t need a victory lap. It needs leadership.”

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