Boehner, McConnell Play ‘Dead or Alive’ with Obama's SOTU Proposals

Spoiler: Most of the ideas are dead.


US President Barack Obama (C) speaks alongside Speaker of the House John Boehner (L), Republican of Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), Republican of Kentucky, prior to a meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, DC, January 13, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Photographer: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

In a 60 Minutes interview scheduled to air on Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were asked by CBS's Scott Pelley to grade the viability of four policy proposals President Barack Obama raised in this week's State of the Union address: taxes on the rich, free community college, a higher federal minimum wage, and a tripled child care tax credit. 

Not surprisingly, as the excerpt released by CBS shows, all of those ideas are pretty dead. Here's what the GOP leaders had to say. 

Dead: Taxes on wealthy

Obama has proposed paying for his new proposals with new taxes on the rich, expected to raise $320 billion in taxes over 10 years. The hike would include raising the tax rate on capital gains and dividends from 23.8 percent to 28 percent, and imposing capital gains taxes on inheritances

PELLEY: From the president's State of the Union, let me ask you–dead or alive–raise taxes on the wealthy?

BOEHNER: Why would he want to raise taxes on people? There's no free lunch, and the president wants to raise taxes because he wants to increase Washington spending.

PELLEY: I'll take that as a dead.

BOEHNER: Dead. Real dead.

Dead: Community college

Under Obama's plan, the first two years of community college would be free for students who meet certain requirements. The plan will cost $60 billion over 10 years. 

MCCONNELL: We added more debt during the Obama years than all the presidents from George Washington down to George Bush. The last thing we need to do to these young people is add more debt and giving away free tuition strikes me as something we can't afford.

PELLEY: I'll put that down as dead as well.

‘Bad idea’: Federal minimum wage

The president called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, but didn't say by how much. 

BOEHNER: Bad idea.


BOEHNER: It's a bad idea. I've had every kind of rotten job you can imagine growing up and getting myself through school, and I wouldn't have had a chance at half those jobs if the federal government had kept imposing higher minimum wage. Low income jobs help people get skills and they can climb the economic ladder.

Alive? Tripling the child care tax credit

Obama wants to raise the maximum child care tax credit to $3,000. Of the four proposals, this was the one Boehner, at least, seemed most open to. 

PELLEY: Finally, dead or alive, tripling the child care tax credit for working families?

BOEHNER: We're all for helping working class families around America. I think we'll take a look at this when he sends his budget up--something that could be looked at in the overall context of simplifying our tax code and bringing rates down for everyone.

PELLEY: Possible area of compromise here between the Democrats and the Republicans on the child care tax credit?

BOEHNER: Certainly something we'd look at.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE