House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) expressed doubt on ABC's "This Week" Sunday about the prospects for reaching a grand bargain with President Obama on the deficit.
"I don't know whether we can come to a big agreement," Boehner said. "If we do, it'll be between the two parties on Capitol Hill." He said any such agreement must happen through "regular order."
Boehner continued his hard-line opposition to any new revenue, and said the other sticking point was that Obama does not believe balancing the budget within a decade is a priority.
"If the president doesn't believe that the goal oughta be to balance the budget over the next ten years, I don't -- not sure we're gonna get very far," he said. "And this is the whole issue. We have a spending problem here in Washington and it's time to solve the problem."
Boehner tried to walk the fine line between sounding the alarm about tackling the debt while reassuring that a crisis is not imminent. "We do not have an immediate debt crisis. But we all know that we have one looming," he said. "We have time to solve our problems. But we need to do it now."
Revealingly, when asked by host Martha Raddatz if there's any ratio of spending cuts to tax hikes that'd be acceptable, Boehner repeatedly dodged.
MARTHA RADDATZ: Well, let me ask you this simple [question]: Is there any ratio of entitlement cuts to new revenues that you would--
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: The president got his--
MARTHA RADDATZ: --say that the is three to one, four to one--
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: --tax hikes. The president--
MARTHA RADDATZ: --nothing?
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: --got his tax hikes on January the 1st.
MARTHA RADDATZ: So, the answer to--
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: He r-- he--
MARTHA RADDATZ: --that is no?
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: --he ran his election on taxing the wealthy. He got his tax hikes. But he won't talk about the spending problem and that's the problem here in Washington. This year, the federal government will bring in more in revenue than in any year in our history.