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Entries in Debt Talks (12)

Monday
Jul252011

President Obama to Address the Nation Monday Night on Debt Talks

Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will use the bully pulpit in prime time Monday night to address the nation on the status of the stalled debt talks. The President will address the nation live at 9 p.m. from the East Room.

Immediately after the President speaks, Republican Speaker John Boehner will offer his perspective on the stalled talks.

The news comes amid an impasse in Washington over how to raise the nation’s credit limit and avoid an Aug. 2 default. It would be the first default in U.S. government history.

Bipartisan talks broke down over the weekend and now Democrats and Republicans are pursuing divergent proposals on Capitol Hill.

Earlier Monday the White House made clear it will support Sen. Harry Reid’s proposal to cut more than $2 trillion in spending, including money saved through the planned drawdown of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- a move Republicans dismiss -- although it is also offered in the GOP House version.

White House spokesman Jay Carney accused House Republicans of walking away from deficit negotiations “after insisting that the budget be balanced on the backs of seniors and the middle class.”

Meanwhile Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner met with his party today to outline his own proposal for a two-step deficit reduction plan.

ABC News has learned the framework would cut and cap discretionary spending to generate $1.2 trillion savings over 10 years and increase the debt limit by less than $1 trillion. The plan would also create a joint committee on deficit reduction to come up with a second wave of deficit reduction by the end of this year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul242011

Timothy Geithner Says Obama and Boehner Resume Talks on Comprehensive Deal

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says that talks on a "comprehensive, balanced" budget deal between President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner have resumed after discussion between the two leaders came to a standstill on Friday, and he hopes that a framework on an agreement "should happen today."

"Both leaders recognize they're running out of time," Geithner said in an interview with "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour. "They need to get this process moving in the House on Monday night. To achieve that deadline, they need to have a framework that they know with great confidence will pass both houses of Congress, is acceptable to the President, and that should happen today."

Geithner said that there is progress being made, with two potential agreements on the table.

The first deal would include what Geithner called a "comprehensive, balanced set of savings on the spending side to help secure Medicare and Medicaid for the future, and tax reform that would generate revenues."

The other approach would be the plan by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that would call for Congress to make proposed spending cuts in exchange for allowing the president to raise the debt ceiling.

With the imminent opening of Asian markets, Geithner reassured the world economies that the United States would not default on its debt obligations.

"The leaders of Congress have said unequivocally, Republicans not just Democrats, that we will meet our obligations. We are not going to default," Geithner said. "What we're trying to do is to not just achieve that, but make sure that we put in place a framework that allows Congress to make the tough decisions we need to make to get our fiscal house in order."

He added that this would be a critical test for American politics to see if there could be bipartisanship to make a deal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jul232011

Political Stalemate: Congressional Leaders to Meet After Debt Talks Collapse

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has called Congressional leaders to the White House Saturday morning to try to restart debt ceiling talks after negotiations collapsed.

The president has called on Speaker of the House John Boehner-- along with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid -- to return to the White House this morning for a meeting at 11 a.m. Boehner said Friday night that he will attend the meeting.

"They are going to have to explain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default. And they can come up with any plans that they want and bring them up here and we will work on them," President Obama said Friday.

Boehner called off talks with the White House on the debt ceiling Friday evening, at a time when White House officials thought they were close to reaching a deal on the debt ceiling.

"It has become evident that the White House is not serious about ending the spending binge that is destroying jobs and endangering our children's future," Boehner said in a letter sent to every member of Congress.

A visibly frustrated President Obama spoke to reporters just as the Boehner's letter was made public.

"It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal, and frankly, if you look at the commentary out there, there are a lot of Republicans that are puzzled as to why it couldn't get done," the president said.

White House officials said Obama made a call to Boehner Thursday evening, but the call went unreturned until 5:30 p.m. on Friday, when Boehner reportedly called and told the president he was calling off negotiations.

The speaker said in a press conference Friday night that talks broke down on Thursday, because the White House "moved the goal posts" and called for more revenue increases than had been previously discussed. Boehner added that, in addition to the White House's insistence on tax increases, the administration has not been serious about cutting government spending.

But the president told reporters the White House had offered Boehner a generous deal that called for less revenue increases than the "Gang of Six" deal that had been seriously considered earlier this week and had offered over a trillion dollars in discretionary spending cuts, in addition to $650 million in cuts to entitlement programs.

Boehner said he will move forward in talks with Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill to try and strike a deal before the Aug. 2 deadline when the country will default on its financial obligations if the debt ceiling is not raised.

"I think we can work together here on Capitol Hill to forge and agreement, and I'm hopeful that the president will work with us," Boehner told reporters.

The standoff over the failing debt negotiations has hinged on the refusal of a group of Congressional Republicans to consider tax increases as part of the deal, while many Democrats are have been unwilling to consider cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul222011

No Deal: Debt Ceiling Talks Between Obama, Boehner Break Down

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- Talks between House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama to raise the debt ceiling in conjunction with sweeping spending cuts and tax and entitlement reform have broken down. There will be no "grand bargain" to deal with the debt crisis and raise the debt ceiling.

Boehner's decision to abandon negotiations with President Obama puts an end to a deal that would have cut spending by up to $3.5 trillion over the next 10 years and increased tax revenues by close to a trillion dollars. But the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling must be raised by Aug. 2 to avoid a government default.

"We have now run out of time," a visibly angry Obama declared at a hastily arranged press conference in the White House briefing room.

He said he has summoned Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the White House for an emergency meeting at 11am on Saturday.

"I expect them to have an answer as to how they will get this thing done over the next week," Obama said. Both sides agree that a proposal should be hammered out over the weekend.

Talks now begin between Boehner and senate leaders on a far less ambitious a Plan B.

Boehner held his own press conference Friday night and said the talks broke down because "The White House moved the goal posts."

Specifically, he said the two sides had agreed on an unspecified amount of revenue to be included in deficit reduction, achieved by broadening the number of Americans who pay taxes and lowering general tax rates. But he said President Obama on Thursday demanded another $400 billion in revenue, which Boehner said "was going to be nothing more than a tax hike on the American people."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul152011

Obama Says He Was 'Very Blunt' During Wednesday Debt Meeting

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama admitted on Thursday that he was “very blunt” with congressional leaders during Wednesday’s deficit reduction negotiation, but denied walking out of the meeting abruptly.

“At the end of the meeting, what I said to the group was what the American people feel, which is we have a responsibility to do the right thing.  We shouldn't be overly partisan.  We shouldn’t be posturing.  We should solve problems,” the president said in a White House interview with COX Television's WSB-TV.  “I think maybe some people were surprised by how blunt I was.”

In a separate interview with CBS' KYW-TV of Philadelphia, Obama explained that he took a “very blunt” tone with the leaders “based on what I’ve been seeing over the last five days.”

“What we haven’t seen is an acknowledgement that if we’re serious about solving the problem, then everybody’s got to compromise a little bit.  People have dug themselves into these very deep holes,” Obama told KYW’s Chris May.

“I’ve said ‘let’s do a big deal to reduce our debt and our deficit by trillions of dollars.’  I’ve said ‘I’m willing to make very tough spending cuts.  I’m willing to make modifications to entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid.’  And I’ve said in return, ‘let’s make sure that folks like myself, who have been extraordinarily blessed are contributing to the sacrifices that are necessary,’” Obama said.  “At a certain point the American people run out of patience if they think people are playing games and not serious about solving problems.”

Asked about the reported tension between him and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the president told KYW, “I am willing to work with everybody including Eric Cantor to solve problems… My relationship with all the leaders has been cordial, it has been professional.”

The president continued to reject a short-term solution.

“What are we going to do six months from now when we are in the same position in the middle of an election season?” Obama asked.

“Kicking it down the road is exactly how we got in this position in the first place… What I have said, and I’ve said it repeatedly, is that we are not going to let Congress go on August recess, have a one month vacation while this problem doesn’t get solved,” he told KYW.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul142011

'It's Decision Time,' Says the President

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Thursday's negotiating session between the president and Capitol Hill lawmakers lasted one hour and 20 minutes and was described as cordial. The most noteworthy decision was that there will be no meeting on Friday.

"The meeting ended without an agreement, but also without incident," said a GOP aide. "So I guess that's progress."

The tone of the meeting was businesslike, cordial and polite. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., did not say a word.

The president said that in the next 24-36 hours, he wanted the leaders to talk to their caucuses and call him about a path forward that can pass both the House and Senate.

"I'll be on call," the president told them.

There will not be a meeting Friday, though there remains the potential for meetings over the weekend.

"It’s decision time," the president said. "We need concrete plans to move this forward."

The lawmakers were given essentially three options to bring back to their caucuses:

1) The big deal -- $4 trillion in deficit reduction with cuts to entitlement programs and tax increases, which seems less likely as the Aug. 2 deadline approaches.

 "I want to do the largest deal possible," the president said, according to a Democratic official. "A short-term solution is not something I will sign."

2) The medium plan -- somewhere between $1.5-$1.7 trillion in cuts to spending, but no entitlement cuts or tax elements. One roadblock here is that Republicans demand that spending cuts at least match the amount of the increase of the debt ceiling, which the president says needs to be $2.4 trillion or so to get to 2013.

3) The McConnell plan -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would allow the debt ceiling to be raised by the president, with Congress voting disapprovingly three times before the 2012 election. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and McConnell are talking about creating a deficit commission that, like the base closing commission, would issue legislation that would be voted on up or down. They're also discussing attaching spending cuts to this. This proposal has not yet been the subject of a lot of interest by House Republicans.

The meeting started with OMB Director Jacob Lew, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither and National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling walking lawmakers through "proposals for getting savings out of health care entitlement programs, tax expenditures and budget process changes," a Democratic official said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul132011

Donald Trump Accuses GOP of 'El Foldo' on Debt Ceiling

Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- He’s not running for president, but Donald Trump still has opinions.

He’s been tweeting quotes from his book The Art of the Deal to House Speaker John Boehner as the top Republican squares off with the White House on debt talks.

“@johnboehner 'Much as it pays to emphasize the positive, there are times when the only choice is confrontation.' The Art of the Deal,” he wrote Tuesday.

“@johnboehner Message for House GOP 'The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it.' - The Art of the Deal,” he wrote last Friday.

But while he wants Republicans to stand strong on spending cuts, he doesn’t want anything cut from Medicare.

“House GOP wants to cut Medicare, Obama took $500 billion from Medicare for Obamacare. Both Wrong!” he tweeted Friday.

But in a new video blog the real estate tycoon and reality TV star says he’s disgusted with Republicans who he suspects are getting ready to fold on the debt ceiling.

“Its hard to believe, but the Republicans look like they’re about to fold again. They talk tough, but they don’t act tough. Its incredible. Look at what’s going on. It’s called ‘el foldo.'

"They are going to do something with the debt ceiling. They could negotiate so strong. They could negotiate so powerfully. Right now they’re losing all their chips just like they did in December. They call it the ‘lame duck’ session, where they gave Obama everything he wanted and frankly they had all the cards. Right now they have all the cards and they’re going to give up their hand. I don’t believe what’s going on. And that’s one of the reasons I’m so disgusted with them."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul122011

Debt Talks Continue; Consensus Needed on Deficit Reduction

The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Officials familiar with the negotiations say Monday’s meeting began with President Obama asking House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to lay out what was agreed upon in the deficit reduction talks led by Vice President Biden.

Cantor outlined around $2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade: $1-1.1 trillion in discretionary spending; $200 billion in mandatory discretionary spending, such as civilian military retirement and farm subsidies; $200 billion in Medicare and Medicaid; and roughly $200-300 billion in saved interest on the debt.

After Cantor’s presentation, the president said the two sides might be able to reach consensus on roughly $1.7 trillion, though there were still some issues to resolve.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said the amount they agree to in deficit reduction needs to be equal to -- if not more than -- the amount they agree to raise the debt ceiling.

There seemed to be consensus in the room that the amount by which they need to raise the debt ceiling is $2.4 trillion.  That would get the government to February or March 2013.

Why that date?  No one thinks a lame duck Congress should take this on from November 2012 to January 2013 and that would allow the new Congress and maybe a new president to get his or her sea legs before again addressing the issue.

So Tuesday’s homework assignment, the president said, is for the congressional leaders to figure out how to get from $1.7 trillion to $2.4 trillion.

Republicans are still insisting on no new taxes.  Democrats say they need some revenues -- a “balanced approach” -- to get Democratic votes.

As House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said Monday, “Republicans must be prepared to make concessions of their own and not put the entire burden on seniors, the middle class and the most vulnerable among us."

The president on Monday continued to make the case for a big deal, arguing that if they’re going to draw heat for the deal, they should at least do more than make a down payment on the deficit -- they should get the country on sounder financial footing and begin to seriously bend the deficit cost curve.

The meeting broke after about an hour and a half.

“We’ll meet tomorrow at the White House at 3:45,” the president said.

“A.M. or P.M.?” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., joked.

“It may come to that,” the president said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul112011

White House Debt Talks Make Little Progress, Will Continue Monday

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama told congressional leaders Sunday night that he is prepared to make the tough decisions on entitlement spending to reach a deal on raising the debt ceiling and cutting the deficit, a Democrat familiar with the negotiating process told ABC News.

But if Republicans are not willing to do the same regarding taxes, the president asked them during a meeting at the White House, what is their alternative?

After meeting for 75 minutes, congressional leaders will be back at the White House Monday afternoon to continue negotiations.

On Monday morning, the president will hold a news conference on the matter, making his case to the American people about why tax rates for wealthier Americans and corporations need to be raised as part of a deficit reduction package of at least $4 trillion over the next decade.

Republicans say House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sought a similarly sized package that would reduce and reform entitlement spending and cut and cap discretionary spending.  The bill -- which would also raise the debt ceiling through November 2012 -- would contain language committing to principles of tax reform, which key House and Senate committee chairmen would then turn into actual numbers.

Talks broke down, Republicans said, when the president would not commit to the principle that everyone's tax rates would come down.

Also in Sunday night's meeting, Obama again took the idea of a short-term debt ceiling fix off the table.  Whatever Congress passes in terms of deficit reduction, the debt ceiling needs to be raised until after November 2012, a Democratic briefing on the discussions told ABC News.

The president also told congressional leaders to come back Monday with a view on what could pass both the House and the Senate.

A Democratic aide familiar with the process said that Boehner "put on the table letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire and banking the revenue and then he bailed.  The speaker couldn't take the heat from the Republican caucus."

Although Boehner warned Saturday evening that the two sides should "focus on producing a smaller measure, based on the cuts identified in the [Vice President Joe] Biden-led negotiations," Democrats involved in the negotiations say they still prefer to go for the "grand bargain" that would cut closer to $4 trillion over 10 years.

"We came into this weekend with the prospect that we could achieve a grand bargain," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement following the meeting.  "We are still hopeful for a large bipartisan agreement, which means more stability for our economy, more growth and jobs, and more deficit reduction over a longer period of time."

"This package must do no harm to the middle class or to economic growth," the California Democrat said.  "It must also protect Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries, and we continue to have serious concerns about shifting billions in Medicaid costs to the states."

A senior aide to the speaker said Boehner told the leaders that he still "believes a package based on the work of the Biden group is the most viable option at this time for moving forward."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun242011

Democrats on the Debt Talks: 'A Lack of Political Will By the Republicans'

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As the talks broke down Thursday to negotiate how to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit before the Aug. 2 deadline for action set by the Obama administration,  Democrats Friday pointed a finger at Republicans for bailing on the talks just when they were getting hard.

“Republicans seem unwilling or unable politically to cut a deal,” Senator Chuck Schumer , D-N.Y., said on a conference call with reporters,  adding that in his opinion House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s, R-Va., decision to pull out of the talks was not because the discussions had come to an impasse.

“There as just a lack of political will by the Republicans to accept the kind of compromise that was taking shape,” Schumer said. “A deal was potentially forming. Leader Cantor didn’t want his fingerprints on it. The Republicans are utterly divided right now and no one wants to own any part of the deal to avoid default.”

Schumer referenced ABC’s Jonathan Karl’s “Subway Series” interview with Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C.,  in which the South Carolina Republican said that Republicans who vote for the debt ceiling to be raised, will “be gone.”

“Can you imagine the toxic rhetoric like that, no wonder Leader Cantor went running away,” Schumer said. “No wonder the Republicans are tied up in knots.”

Schumer said there are some “messy realities” for Republicans -- namely that to pick up Democratic votes there needs to be revenues in any deal.

“Republicans cannot insist at protecting tax breaks for millionaires at the expense of our economy,” Schumer said.

On the conference call Schumer, who was not part of the Biden-led talks, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen , D-Md., who was in the talks, spoke of more details that were being discussed among the group before they broke down Thursday.

Van Hollen said that in the discussions Republicans opted to choose "protect taxpayer subsidies for big oil companies, tax breaks for corporate jets, and tax breaks for millionaires."

Schumer said the president and the Democrats are “pretty much” on the same page right now -- the question is, he said, “will the Republicans on both the House and Senate side start negotiating…they can’t have it all their way.”

“What we’ve seen on the Republican side is all take and no give,” Rep. Van Hollen said. “Any serious approach requires compromise and that’s going to be required.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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