No Big Deal? Debt Ceiling Talks Break Down (Again)
[Posted by Karl]
Talks between House Speaker John Boehner and Pres. Obama to raise the debt ceiling have broken down again. Given that I mocked the media’s coverage of this topic to date, let me point out some who are getting the story straight.
Jonathan Karl at ABC News notes Pres. Obama was “visibly angry” at today’s presser (which Jay Cost calls Obama’s “malaise moment“; it won’t be because it wasn’t a primetime speech and enough of the media will filter it for Obama’s benefit). More important — albeit stuck in mid-story:
Boehner held his own press conference after 7 p.m. 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.”
It is clear, however, that Boehner and Cantor were ready to accept up to $800 billion in revenue measures as part of a grand bargain. But when that number jumped, in part because of pressure from Democrats, the talks broke down. (Emphasis added.)
CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller confirms this (twice). Indeed, Obama implied it at his presser:
“This was an extraordinarily fair deal,” Obama said. “If it was unbalanced, it was unbalanced in the direction of not enough revenue.”
ABC’s Rick Klein hypothesizes that the Gang of Six proposal (which included $2 trillion or more in taxes) triggered Obama’s demand for 50% more in “revenues.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Dems may reluctantly accept a last-minute compromise to avoid a default that involves up to $2.5 trillion in spending cuts — without new taxes — if entitlements are protected. That may not suffice to avoid a downgrade of our AAA debt rating, and it doesn’t address the driver of the debt bomb… but it’s something.
It is getting increasingly difficult for anyone to miss that the GOP was ready to deal, while Obama is ready to campaign.
Update: DCCC already fundraising!
Update 2: Obama may have figured out his overweening desire for higher taxes is not playing well.
Update 3: Boehner claims that after the Gang of Six proposal and pressure from Dems, Obama started pushing for $1.2 trillion in revenue as a floor (with plenty more on Medicaid, Medicare, SocSec…).