Eric Cantor, Tom Price
J. Scott Applewhite  /  AP
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., left, accompanied by by Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., signals that Republicans will not vote to increase the debt limit without real reforms on spending policy during a press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday.
updated 4/13/2011 9:03:34 AM ET 2011-04-13T13:03:34

Leading congressional Republicans renewed their vehement opposition to tax increases Wednesday, as President Barack Obama prepared to put forth his new prescription for slow growth and national indebtedness.

"Most people understand that Washington doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. "We can't raise taxes. ... That was settled last November during the elections."

Joining Cantor in appearing on morning network news programs, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, also ruled out tax increases, saying the country needs tax "reform," not tax hikes.

The GOP figures made the rounds of news shows ahead of Obama's speech Wednesday afternoon outlining his latest ideas for combating mounting federal deficits and for coping with slow economic growth and lingering high unemployment.

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Story: Obama poised to enter long-term budget fight

Intense bargaining over the last two weeks that allowed Obama and House Republicans to avert a partial government shutdown over budget differences merely primed the pump for an even more intense, and more protracted, national budget debate in the coming weeks. It's a discussion that will be complicated by the need soon to raise the government's debt limit to avoid default.

Story: Obama, Republicans far apart on how to cut US debt

Cantor said, "We cannot fix our fiscal crisis and bring down the debt just with cuts alone. Washington has been on a spending spree of late." But both he and Ryan said they were pleased that Obama has engaged the debate.

"The president hasn't even engaged in negotiations," Ryan said, "so I'm glad he's starting this conversation. ... We don't have a problem because Americans don't pay enough taxes."

Tea Party-backed Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said she, too, believes tax increases should be ruled out.

"I don't think it should be on the table because tax rates are high enough already," she said.

Story: Republican firebrand Bachmann fills Tea Party role

Cantor appeared on CBS's "The Early Show." Ryan was interviewed on ABC's "Good Morning America" and Bachmann commented on NBC's "Today" program.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Obama to lay out plan to cut deficit

  1. Closed captioning of: Obama to lay out plan to cut deficit

    >> now to washington and the question over what to do with the nation's massive debt. president obama is set to outline his plan today. chuck todd has the details on it. good morning.

    >> reporter: good morning, matt. the president will add his voice to the debate over what to do about the ever-growing deficit and debt. the white house has been hesitant to leak too many details. he's going to talk about major changes to the tax code -- translation, tax hikes. and reforms to entitlement programs like social security .

    >> he will provide the american people his vision.

    >> reporter: the white house press secretary offered few specifics on what the president will say except to say it will be a balanced approach.

    >> entitlements, tax expenditures and defense spending .

    >> reporter: just one week after paul ryan unveiled his plan to tackle the country's debt problem --

    >> this is the path to prosperity.

    >> reporter: -- white house aids hope the president's plan and the ryan plan become the two competing visions of how to deal with the explosion of red ink in the budget. they say going into the presidential election year it's an argument they believe they can win. republicans say any plan to increase taxes is a loser.

    >> taxes are not on the table. we don't have a revenue problem. we have a spending problem.

    >> reporter: deficit and debt plans are becoming commonplace around washington. besides the obama and ryan plans, there is the president's debt commission plan which calls for a gradual rise of the social security retirement age to 69, an idea the president has not yet endorsed. then there is the so-called gang of six, a bipartisan group of six senators promising to come up with their specific proposals soon.

    >> governor romney, welcome back --

    >> reporter: the budget debate is a big part of the presidential campaign already.

    >> i would cap the amount of federal spending and federal taxation. don't do it and you will find the liberals taking more and more of the american dollar .

    >> reporter: earlier this week mitt romney made it official by announcing an exploratory committee and he's already being treated as the front runner . and when tim pawlenty seemed like he was in the race.

    >> i'm running for president.

    >> reporter: aids retracted his statement. mississippi governor hailey barbour has been acting like a candidate.

    >> i'm very pleased with the response. people know we need a change.

    >> reporter: going back to the debt speech today, coming up with the plan is the easy part. it's the politics that's the hard part. there are aids close to the president that envision a republican candidate endorsing the ryan plan and using that and the fact that they want to dramatically change medicare to target older voters in florida, iowa and ohio.


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