Debt ceiling adversaries take a time out to face the microphones
With roughly a week left for President Obama and congressional leaders to reach an agreement on raising the debt ceiling, both sides took time out to argue their case to the public.
With roughly a week to go for President Obama and congressional leaders to reach agreement on raising the nation’s debt ceiling and prevent a government default, both sides in the debate took time out from negotiations to argue their case to the public.Skip to next paragraph
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Friday morning began on Capitol Hill with House Speaker John Boehner (R) telling reporters that congressional Democrats and the president had not been serious in the Republicans' sometimes heated negotiations with the White House.
“Listen, we’re in the fourth quarter here. Time and time again Republicans have offered serious proposals to cut spending and address these issues, and I think it’s time for the Democrats to get serious as well. We asked the president to lead. We asked him to put forward a plan – not a speech, a real plan – and he hasn't,” Mr. Boehner said.
Shortly afterward, Mr. Obama made his second appearance in the White House briefing room in a week to argue his case for not only raising the debt ceiling but coupling the deal with a plan to cut the government’s deficit by up to $4 trillion over 10 years.
"We have a unique opportunity to do something big. We have a chance to stabilize America’s finances for a decade, 15 years, or 20 years, if we are willing to seize the moment,” Obama said to a standing-room-only crowd of reporters and photographers.
Describing a series of deficit-cutting options the White House has proposed, Obama said, “I think about this like a layer cake. You can do the bare minimum” or make additional decisions that add to the savings.
But earlier he also acknowledged "what everybody understands. It is hard to do a big package.”
The reason is simple: Every federal program has its own constituency that does not want to see the program cut.
A key issue in the deficit-cutting process is whether to include new tax revenues or the closing of loopholes. Republicans are dead set against what Speaker Boehner calls – at every opportunity – “job killing tax hikes.”