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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Monday offered a frank warning to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) as Republicans continue to battle the White House over the approaching March 1 sequestration deadline, when a raft of across-the-board spending cuts are slated to take effect unless a budget deal is produced.
Boehner, Johnson said, risks losing his leadership title if he agrees to new tax revenues that President Barack Obama has pushed to include in the budget package.
"I don't quite honestly think that Speaker Boehner would be speaker if that happens," Johnson said in an interview with Fox News. "I think he would lose his speakership."
Boehner on Monday accused Obama of using members of the military as "campaign props" in the ongoing sequestration debate. Obama appeared with first responders last week, and on Tuesday he is scheduled to visit a Virginia-based shipbuilder — both part of the administration's broader strategy of conveying the potential consequences of the looming budget cuts to the public. Boehner also signaled that he has no intention of conceding on new tax revnues.
"Listen, the president says we have to have another tax increase to avoid the sequestration," Boehner said during a news conference. "Well, Mr. President, you got your tax increase. It's time to cut spending in Washington. Instead of using our military men and women as campaign props, if the president was serious, he would sit down with Harry Reid and address our problems."