Tuesday, July 12, 2011

President Obama Discusses Debt Ceiling Talks

Obama, lawmakers still divided over debt deal

WASHINGTON — Grasping for a deal on the nation's debt, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders remained divided Sunday over the size and the components of a plan to reduce long term deficits. Noting the need to work out an agreement over the next 10 days, the president and lawmakers agreed to meet again Monday.
 From left , House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Md., House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., meet in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Sunday, July 10, 2011, in Washington, to discuss the debt. Sitting across the table at the lower left are Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Budget Birector Jack Lew. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Obama also sought to use the power of his office to sway public opinion, scheduling a news conference for Monday morning, his second one in less than two weeks devoted primarily to the debt talks.
Officials familiar with the meeting said Obama pressed the eight House and Senate leaders Sunday evening to continue aiming for a massive $4 trillion deal for reducing the debt. He especially objected to Republican claims that there was not enough time to negotiate a deal that large, two officials said.
But there appeared to be little appetite for such an ambitious plan and the political price it would require to pass in Congress. Instead, House Speaker John Boehner told the group that a smaller package of about $2 trillion to $2.4 trillion was more realistic.
Officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private meeting and because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.
One Democratic aide said Obama and Sen. Jon Kyl, the second-ranking Republican leader in the Senate, exchanged some testy words after Obama objected to the way Republicans were negotiating.
A Democratic official familiar with the session said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., was especially adamant that any deficit reduction package could not contain tax increases and that any new tax revenue would have to be used to pay for other tax benefits.More...

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