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Wednesday
Jun082011

Senate GOP: Obama Passed the Buck on Debt Ceiling Talks 

RonJohnson.senate.gov(WASHINGTON) -- One day before the fifth round of Vice President Biden-led debt ceiling talks are held on the Hill, Republican Senators on Wednesday increased the pressure on President Obama directly, accusing him of "phoning it in" and calling for the president to be more personally involved in the negotiations to avert a potentially catastrophic default on the nation's debt.

"Our president is totally disengaged," Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said at a press conference. "He sent his vice president to negotiate, what maybe once a week, twice a week? We are facing a debt crisis and our president is just phoning it in. I find that very disappointing. I think the American people find that very disappointing."

In April, President Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead the bipartisan deficit reduction talks with a group of lawmakers from each of the four caucuses, in order to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit before the Aug. 2 deadline for action. Since then, Biden has held four meetings with the group -- with the fifth being held Thursday on the Hill.

Johnson said that the issue requires the president’s full attention, "24 hours a day," suggesting that the level of involvement of the president shows that he doesn't properly understand how dire the situation is.

Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, echoed the sentiment adding that Obama should get directly involved and "not just shovel it off to someone else."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that Republicans will not support any deal to raise the debt ceiling unless it is accompanied by spending cuts at least equal to the amount by which the borrowing limit is raised.

After the last meeting of the bipartisan group, Biden said the group is "on pace" to identify at least $1 trillion in cuts. But Democrats oppose any deal that would include cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare.

Democrats say that new tax revenues need to be part of any eventual deal to raise the debt ceiling. Republican leaders in Congress have steadfastly said that the country has "a spending problem" -- not a revenue problem -- and raising taxes is not an option.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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