House Speaker John Boehner wants the "Super Committee" on deficit reduction to lay the groundwork for a major overhaul to the tax code as part of its $1.5 trillion deficit reduction plan it is expected to propose by Thanksgiving, and he wants the plan to include a mix of spending cuts and changes to popular social programs.
In a high-profile speech today at the Economic Club of Washington, Boehner said businesses and job creators are facing a "triple threat" from government with too many burdensome regulations, out of control spending and a tax code that "discourages investment and rewards special interests."
He said that job creators are "slammed by uncertainty from the constant threat of new taxes, out-of-control spending, and unnecessary regulation from a government that is always micromanaging, meddling, and manipulating."
Boehner said that he knows it is unrealistic that the committee can overhaul the entire U.S. code in just a couple months, but he said that the committee could lay out a plan to lower corporate and individual tax rates while at the same time eliminating certain tax deductions and carve outs in the tax code.
But the Ohio Republican made clear that tax increases must be off the table for the committee.
"It's a very simple equation" Boehner said. "Tax increases destroy jobs. And the Joint Committee is a jobs committee. Its mission is to reduce the deficit that is threatening job creation in our country."
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference before Boehner's speech that "any tax reform and closing of loopholes, which is really important for us to do as a sense of fairness, must also reduce the deficit." That's a direct hit at the House Republican stance that any money saved from closing loopholes should go to tax cuts or lowering of rates elsewhere.
On entitlements, Boehner said that the committee "can achieve real deficit reduction by reforming entitlements and taking real action to preserve and strengthen Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid."
Boehner made clear that the savings from these entitlement programs would be a large part of the $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction and that both the changes and savings would be achieved over time. Not all at once.
Speaker Boehner also took on President Obama's jobs bill.
While he said that Republicans will consider some of the Mr. Obama's ideas in his $447 billion jobs package, Boehner said the "government is not going to hire someone for $4000 tax credit if government mandates impose long-term costs on them that significantly exceed the temporary credit."
Boehner said that these credits will only work if burdensome regulations from the EPA and other agencies are removed. He promised that the House would move forward with its fall agenda of passing at least one bill a week that would eliminate regulations that serve as barriers to economic growth and hiring.
Boehner ended his speech with a call for compromise, but was unclear if he was talking to Mr. Obama or members of his own party.
He said "if we want to create a better environment for job creation, politicians of all stripes can leave the 'my way or the highway' philosophy behind. The all-or-nothing approach is not a workable mindset if we're serious about getting our economy on its feet again."