Nation’s Top Republican Argues Onus Is On Obama To Lead On Fiscal Cliff, Immigration

“The principles of our party are sound,” he says.

WASHINGTON, DC — Speaker John Boehner Friday sought to put responsibility for action on the fiscal cliff squarely on President Barack Obama’s shoulders, arguing, “This is an opportunity for the president to lead. This is his moment.”

Speaking to reporters in the Capitol, Boehner reiterated his long-standing opposition to any increases in taxes and his argument that Republicans will only accept new revenues as part of tax reform, but warned Obama must take charge of the situation.

“2013 should be the year we begin to solve our debt … It’s finally the year that our government comes to grips with the problems that are facing it,” he said — so long as Obama takes the lead.

The notion that Obama needs to take the lead on the difficult issues facing the nation could become a familiar refrain from Republicans, who are regrouping following Tuesday’s electoral defeat.

For instance, Boehner made an almost identical argument on immigration Friday, arguing for a “step-by-step approach, to secure our borders, allow us to enforce our laws, and fix a broken immigration system. But again, on an issue like this, the president has got to lead.

Meanwhile, Boehner also said his party’s collapse at the polls Tuesday was a matter of messaging — putting him at odds with many in his party who believe the GOP needs to change policy positions on immigration and women’s issues to broaden its appeal.

“There’s a Republican majority here in the House,” he noted, arguing that while it’s “clear we’ve got some work to do … the principles of our party are sound.”

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