Mr. Boehner, a Republican, toured a window-making plant in Hamilton, in his southwest Ohio home area, on the eve of Democratic President Obama’s State of the Union address later today.
He told employees at Vinylmax LLC that the nation’s economy is “limping along” and could do a lot better. He said showing businesses that “we’re going to get serious about our spending problems” will give them confidence to invest for growth.
“The most basic thing we should do is what you all do, and that’s do a budget,” Mr. Boehner said. “It’s time for Washington to literally get back to the basics. We can’t continue to spend money we don’t have, and the sooner we begin to address our fiscal problems, I think the sooner the economy will begin to improve.”
Mr. Obama is expected to talk about his plans for job creation and deficit reduction as he begins his second term. He’s also expected to talk about avoiding across-the-board spending cuts that are looming March 1.
Mr. Boehner has said additional tax increases would be out of the question.
Mr. Boehner said Monday that fixing “a broken immigration system” and finding ways to educate more American children also are priorities.
He repeated his opposition to the President’s health care overhaul.
“But the court upheld it as constitutional, the President was re-elected, and it is the law of the land. That doesn’t mean I like it; doesn’t mean I’m not going to work to repeal it, but we’ve got to find some way to make this thing work or get rid of it,” Mr. Boehner said.
The Republican, whose home is in neighboring West Chester, didn’t take questions from reporters, but invited questions from plant employees.
He seemed taken aback by the first one, about whether he would run for president next election: “No! No ... no!” Mr. Boehner replied immediately.
“Now listen to me. I’m the most open, transparent, straightforward guy in Washington. When I say no I mean no.”