Obama Asks Republicans "What Can You Say Yes To," As Debt Talks Implode

obama press conference july 11

President Barack Obama announced Friday in a fiery press conference that Speaker of the House John Boehner has pulled out of talks to raise the debt limit and lower the deficit.

Obama said he offered Republicans a “fair” deal only to be “left at the altar” by Boehner. He added that the deal would have cut over $1.8 trillion in spending, while raising $800 billion in revenues from closing corporate loopholes.

Boehner said Obama moved the goalposts on revenues once he saw the “gang of six” proposal earlier this week — that “it was the president who walked away from his agreement.” Obama denied that, saying if the deal agreed to was unbalanced, it was unbalanced in the direction of needing more revenues.

He added that he is still confident that the debt limit will be raised and that the government will not default. “I cannot believe that Congress would end up being that irresponsible” as to “not avoid a self-inflicted wound to the economy,” he said.

Obama said he would accept sole responsibility for raising the debt limit if Congress adopted the proposal put forward by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, but said he would not accept an increase in the debt limit that does not carry through to 2013.

Obama said he and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner are discussing the consequences of default — the first such statement to that effect from the White House, and an indication of just how serious this impasse is.

Obama summoned congressional leaders to the White House for an 11 a.m. meeting Saturday. Boehner said he would attend.

Read Obama’s remarks below. Refresh this page or click here for the latest on Speaker of the House John Boehner’s remarks.

7:26pm | And Speaker Boehner is done.

7:26pm | Boehner: “I’m confident the Congress can act next week and not jeopardize the full faith and credit of the US”.

7:26pm | Boehner: “I am not really interested in a short-term increase of the debt limit.”.

7:25pm | Boehner: There was an agreement at $800B in new revenue — it was the president who walked away from his agreement.

7:25pm | Boehner says the extra $400 billion in taxes would have come from small businesses, higher income earners.

7:23pm | Boehner says he wil go to the White House tomorrow morning..

7:23pm | Boehner I don’t believe our relationship is permanently damaged. Doesn’t deny not returning Obama call.

7:22pm | Boehner: I think [Congress] can work together here to forge an agreement..

7:21pm | “Never once did the president come to the table with a plan. We were always pushing.” Repeats dealing with WH was like dealing with a bowl of Jell-O.

7:20pm | Boehner: It’s time to get serious. “If the White House won’t get serious, we will.” .

7:20pm | Boehner says he does not want a clean increase in the debt ceiling.

7:18pm | Boehner says he takes same oath of office as President, has the same responsibilities. Trying to claim some of the bully pulpit.

7:18pm | Boehner: There was an agreement on some revenues, until WH moved the goalposts. Says Obama demanded $400 billion in extra revenue yesterday. “There was an agreement on some additional revenues, until the President demanded $400 billion more.”.

7:17pm | Boehner: White House insisted on raising taxes..

7:17pm | Obama says he has confidence that Congressional leaders can raise the debt limit, without tax increases.

7:16pm | Boehner: No one wants to default, I am convinced we will not.

7:16pm | Here is Speaker Boehner.

7:09pm | Five minutes to Speaker Boehner. Read his letter to House GOPers on breaking off talks with Obama. 

7:01pm | It’s worth noting the Reid-McConnell proposal would raise cut little, if anything, from the federal deficit. S&P is demanding $4 Trillion in deficit reduction for the U.S. to maintain its credit rating.

6:43pm | Speaker of the House John Boehner will speak to the press at 7:15 this evening. We’ll have live updates as it happens.

6:43pm | Here is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s statement on the breakdown:
“Republicans have once again proven unable to overcome their ideological opposition to ending taxpayer-funded giveaways for millionaires, corporate jet owners and oil companies. I applaud President Obama for insisting that any deal to reduce our deficit be balanced between cuts and revenues. We must avert a default at all costs, so it is time to reengage in bipartisan talks on an agreement that at least accomplishes that goal.

“I agree with President Obama that a short-term extension is unacceptable.”


6:36pm | That’s it for Obama.

6:35pm | The consensus so far is that this is President Obama at his most presidential.

6:34pm | Obama is coming off angry/defiant this evening. Using the power of the WH podium to push his message.

6:32pm | Obama: The American people want fairness.

6:31pm | Obama: I am confident we will not default, less confident we can deal with debt.

6:30pm | Obama says “we better have some answers in the course of the next several days,” when asked how markets will react on Monday.

6:30pm | Obama: If that is the best Congress can do, I will sign clean debt ceiling increase through 2013.

6:25pm | Obama says WH will provide a tock-tock. “We’ll walk you through the paper.” of the back and forth.

6:23pm | Obama says he has gone out of his way to say both parties need to make compromises. Says this was not the usual food fight between Democrats and Republicans — a lot of Democrats stepped out. We’ve showed ourselves willing to do the tough stuff — on an issue Republicans ran on.

6:21pm | Obama: “I cannot believe that Congress would end up being that irresponsible” as to “not avoid a self-inflicted wound to the economy.” .

6:19pm | Boehner’s office responds, accuses White House of flip-flopping and walking away from key areas of agreement.

6:19pm | Obama doesn’t take opportunity to blame Republicans, says: “I’m not interested in finger-pointing.”.

6:18pm | This was the first time the White House has ever acknowledged planning for what happens after August 2. This is not a good sign.

6:17pm | President says he has been working with Geithner on “adjustments” needed if there is a default.

6:16pm | Obama calls for McConnell-Reid proposal at minimum, giving him ability to raise debt limit. We’re not going to play games.

6:16pm | Obama: In terms of where we go next, here’s the one thing we gotta do. At minimum we need to increase the debt ceiling..

6:16pm | Statement from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:
“As I’ve said before, it’s time now for the debate to move out of a room in the White House and on to the House and Senate floors where we can debate the best approach to reducing the nation’s unsustainable debt.”


6:15pm | “That’s what the American people are looking for is some compromise.”.

6:14pm | Obama says his deal complied with the no-tax pledge.

6:14pm | Obama says the question is: “Can (GOP) say yes to anything?”.

6:13pm | Obama: “I’ve been left at the altar now a couple of times”.

6:12pm | Obama says he an Boehner have always had a cordial relationship. He says he couldn’t get a phone call returned from Boehner today.

6:12pm | Obama takes questions.

6:12pm | Obama: American people are fed up with political posturing..

6:11pm | Obama say debt limit must be raised to get country through 2013.

6:10pm | Obama: Congressional leadership summoned to WH at 11a tomorrow.

6:10pm | Obama: WE HAVE NOW RUN OUT OF TIME.

6:09pm | Obama: If we do not have any revenues – what that means is more of a burden on seniors, more drastic cuts to education. Bigger burden on middle class. Asks nothing of corporate jet owners, asks nothing of wealthy people.

6:08pm | Obama: If this was unbalanced, it was because there weren’t enough revenues. It’s hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal.

6:08pm | Obama: “This was an extraordinarily fair deal.”.

6:07pm | Obama says he was offering the same savings as the gang of six, taxes that were less than what the gang of six proposed, and modifications to entitlement programs that would have saved as much over 10 years.

6:06pm | Obama: We sought revenues that were less than what the gang of six signed off on. Obama says the revenues would not increase rates, just closing loopholes.

6:05pm | Obama says he offered Boehner $1T in cuts to discretionary spending, both domestic and defence. $650B in cuts to entitlements.

6:05pm | Obama says he got a call from Boehner a half hour ago saying he was walking away from talks on a “big deal”.

6:04pm | Two minute warning. Obama expected any moment..

6:03pm | Here is Boehner’s letter to GOP representatives on breaking off talks with Obama.

6:00pm | BOEHNER: “The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised … that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs”.

6:00pm | Boehner breaks off talks with Obama. “We couldn’t connect.”.

5:59pm | Fox News reporting that Boehner has broken off talks with Obama and will negotiate with Senate instead.

5:56pm | We are expecting President Obama within minutes. The White House did not provide any guidance on what he might say, other than it has to do with the deficit talks.

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