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Boehner Hits Spending on Free Cellphones, Video Games

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House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, got unusually specific Wednesday morning about spending cuts he’s demanding in any fiscal deal to avert the looming sequestration.

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Boehner pinned blame for the budget stalemate solely on President Obama, saying the chief executive “invented the `sequester’ in the summer of 2011 to avoid facing up to America’s spending problem.”

And he said the almost-was “grand bargain” between himself and Obama “fell apart at the last minute when the president demanded an extra $400 billion in new revenues—50 percent more than we had shaken hands on the day before.”

But what seemed newsiest about the essay was Boehner’s vague mention of three examples of wasteful programs ripe for cutting. “No one should be talking about raising taxes,” the speaker wrote, “when the government is still paying people to play videogames, giving folks free cellphones, and buying $47,000 cigarette-smoking machines.”

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

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