Obama, Boehner play debt talk blame game

July 22, 2011 7:12:49 PM PDT
There was a setback in the attempt to raise the debt ceiling to keep the country from defaulting on its loans. Both parties are clearly angry and blaming the other for a sudden breakdown in the negotiations.

The president said Friday that he was prepared to take considerable heat from his party over the deal that he was negotiating with Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio). Members of the Bay Area delegation were very unhappy with the plan that called for trillions in spending cuts and put off tax increases until next year.

The debt talks broke down in spectacular form:

"I've been left at the altar now a couple of times," said President Barack Obama.

The president said he was willing to take on more than a trillion dollars in spending cuts, the sticking point was taxes.

"We had an agreement on a revenue number; a revenue number that we thought we could reach based on a flatter tax code with lower rates and a broader base," said Boehner.

Boehner would not budge on eliminating Bush-era tax cuts, or raising taxes on corporations.

"If you don't have revenues the entire thing ends up being tilted on the backs of the poor and middle class families. And the majority of Americans don't agree on that approach," said Obama.

Bay Area members of Congress certainly don't; before the deal fell apart there were reports that any tax increase would be put off until next year.

"Well this is total capitulation. He may as well go out in the street and get run over by a truck," said Rep. John Garamendi (D) Walnut Grove.

"That's not balanced and that's not fair and that's not the way we begin to dig ourselves out of this hole," said Rep Barbara Lee (D) Oakland.

On the Senate side, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called the deal a non-starter, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said everyone including millionaires and billionaires pays their fair share.

"There was an agreement on some additional revenues, until yesterday when the president demanded $400 billion more which was going to be nothing more than a tax increase on the American people," said Boehner.

The president says bluntly, House Republicans are going to bear the responsibility.

"I've gone out of my way to say that both parties have to make compromises. And I think that this whole episode has indicated the degree to which at least a Democratic president has been willing to make some tough compromises," said Obama.

The president has called on Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi and the leaders of the Senate to meet at the White House Saturday morning. He says the only remaining bottom line; find a way to raise the debt ceiling though the end of next year.


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