In “off-the-cuff” remarks at the Business Roundtable in Washington, D.C, today, President Barack Obama was firm in a stance that he would not be “playing that game” of negotiating the raising of the debt ceiling. He said a rise in the debt ceiling would have to be a part of a deal to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff.”Obama quoted John Engler, the president of the Business Roundtable, who charged in November that it’s “not a good weapon for anything except destroying our own credit rating.”
“That is a bad strategy for America, it’s a bad strategy for your businesses and it is not a game I will play,” Obama said. “We are not going to play that game again next year. We’ve got to break that habit before it starts.”
This morning, the U.S. Treasury outlined the so-called “McConnell Provision,” which would change the debt ceiling not into something that has to be raised, but something that has to be voted against. Under the proposal, the debt ceiling would automatically rise unless Congress voted against it.
In his remarks, Obama also maintained that it’s “not possible” to raise enough revenue for a fiscal-cliff deal by simply eliminating loopholes and deductions in the tax code — which is the plan House Speaker John Boehner offered on Monday.
He immediately amended that remark, saying it was “possible,” but not “practical.”
“The notion that some how we’re just going to eliminate charitable deductions is just unlikely,” Obama said in his reasoning.
Obama repeated that for a deal to be reached with Congressional Republicans, marginal tax rates must rise on incomes above $250,000. He said that House Speaker John Boehner is holding that up from happening.
“We can probably solve this in about a week,” Obama said. “It’s not that tough.”
Boehner responded to Obama’s remarks by charging, in fact, that Obama is actually holding up a deal. Here’s his full statement:
“The president’s own words confirm that the responsible proposal put forward by Republicans can be implemented in a manner that meets the president’s own standards. If our offer is not acceptable to the president, then he has an obligation to show leadership by presenting a credible plan of his own that can pass both houses of Congress. The president talks about a balanced approach, but he’s rejected spending cuts that he has supported previously and refuses to identify serious spending cuts he is willing to make today. This is preventing us from reaching an agreement. With the American economy on the brink of the fiscal cliff, we don’t have time for the president to continue shifting the goal posts. We need to solve this problem.”
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