Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) said he has “no idea” if the contingency debt limit plan introduced by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could pass the House.In a press conference Thursday he said the last ditch effort is “worth keeping on the table,” adding, “it might look pretty good a few weeks from now.”
Throwing his arm around House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Boehner pushed back at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s assertion that Cantor should be kicked out of the talks.
“Let me just say, we have been in this fight together and any suggestion that the role that Eric has played in this meeting has been anything less than helpful is just wrong,” he said. “I’m glad Eric’s there and those who have other opinions should keep them to themselves.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney did not specifically address a question whether Cantor should keep a role in the talks, saying only “everyone has to participate and be engaged.”
Pushing back against news reports that there may be a breakthrough in the talks today, Carney said “I do not expect today a Hallelujah moment.”
Asked by ABC News’ Jake Tapper to concede that default is worse than a vote on the debt ceiling next year — questioning the seriousness of President Barack Obama’s veto threat of any bill involving multiple votes before next year’s election — Carney only said the uncertainty caused by multiple votes would be damaging to the economy.
Republicans used the overwhelming majority of their remarks at an afternoon press conference to push for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, encouraging Democrats and Obama to support a measure that is by nearly all accounts a non-starter.
“I hope the President and Democratic leaders join us in support of a Balanced Budget Amendment so we can send it to the states,” Boehner said.
Asked if he was the reason why talks have broken down, Cantor responded that he and Boehner “have consistently been on the same page.”
“We are not going to raise the debt ceiling if we don’t have cuts in excess [of the amount on the table], we are not going to raise taxes, and we need a structural solution to keep this from happening again,” he said.
Carney also said the July 22 deadline given by the White House to allow time for a bill to be drawn up and implemented before August 2 was a “loose date.”
“It’s more of a observation about how Congress works,” he said.
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