"Why we would want to tax the people that we expect to create jobs in this country makes no economic sense," Boehner said. "The president can't run on his record because his policies, his economy policies have failed and have made things worse. And as a result, he's turned to the politics of envy and division. That's what this is about, nothing but pure politics."
He said the House will vote to extend all of the current tax rates at the end of the month. Republicans, including likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, maintain that most small business owners pay the lion's share of taxes in the form of income taxes, making Obama's plan a de facto tax hike.
The two Republicans spoke in back-to-back speeches to the Associated Builders and Contractors legislative conference in Washington Tuesday morning. Both Boehner and Portman touted their credentials as former small business owners.
"How many of you pay your taxes as individuals?" Portman asked the crowd, and the vast majority of audience, numbering several hundred people, raised their hands. "Look around you. This is how America works," he said. "The American people gave (Obama) the ball. At a time when, he was inheriting a tough economy, let's be honest. But in my view he fumbled the ball. It's time to give the ball to somebody else who has a game plan, who's got a strategy to be able to turn things around, who understands, because he has the experience and a record and the public policy positions to do it."
Portman, who is thought to be on Romney's short list of vice presidential picks, called for a complete overhaul of the tax code, which he said is "now nine times longer than the Bible, and not nearly as interesting."
Boehner also mocked the media for questioning the House Republicans' decision to hold a vote to repeal the Obama-backed health care law of 2010, an effort headed for failure in the Democratically-controlled Senate.
"It really boils down to one simple word: Resolve," Boehner said. "You know we are resolved to get rid of a law that will ruin the best health care delivery system the world has ever seen, it will bankrupt our country, and it will make it impossible to grow our economy. That's why we're doing it."