Reflecting on this week's election, in which Democratic President Barack Obama won re-election and Democrats made gains in Congress, House Speaker John Boehner said the GOP has "some work to do" in how it presents the party's ideas.
"It's clear that as a political party we've got some work to do," Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters during a press conference on Capitol Hill on Friday. "I think the principles of our party are sound. We believe in individual responsibility, we believe in empowering our citizens. We believe in the American Dream. We want that dream for everyone. But how we talk about who we are as a party is clearly—clearly conversations are underway and will continue."
Congress faces a busy lame-duck session, as leaders from both chambers plan to work with the White House to reach a deal that will avoid automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to begin Jan. 1, 2013. Boehner said he's looking to Obama "to lead" and that he had a short, "cordial" conversation with the president earlier this week about ways to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.
"I think we both understand that trying to find a way to avert the fiscal cliff is important for this country," Boehner said. "And I'm hopeful that productive conversations can begin soon so we can forge an agreement that can pass the Congress."
Boehner reiterated his opposition to raising taxes as part of that deal, even on high-income earners, and says he sees the negotiations as a way to overhaul the tax code and the way the federal government pays for entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.
The president, who will deliver a statement about the negotiations on Friday afternoon, has said that he remains committed to increasing taxes on the wealthy as part of his plan.