President Barack Obama is not giving up on his hopes to pass a “big” $4 trillion deficit cutting bill as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said Sunday.”[Obama] recognises that to do the right thing you have to try and do the biggest, most substantial deal possible, the deal that’s going to be best for the economy,” Geithner said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“And, you know, his view is, ‘We’re going to keep at it,'” Geithner said. “He’s going to bring people together, and we’re going to keep trying to push people to find areas for compromise. That’s the thing presidents have to do. That’s what the leaders in the House and the Senate have to do.”
Geithner refused to clarify whether benefit cuts to Medicare and Medicaid were still on the table in the negotiations, but said Obama is standing by his call for tax reforms in the deficit deal.
“You have to have balance in the package for it to work,” he said. That’s true economically; it’s absolutely true politically.”
A more modest $2 trillion proposal to cut spending by the amount of the debt ceiling increase is also no sure thing, Geithner said.
“small deals are very tough too, because it requires very difficult reforms, savings, cuts in things people depend on that matter,” he said. “Very hard to do a small deal too.”
Geithner added that unless Congress acts by August 2, there will be a devastating impact on the economy and the nation’s credit rating.
“There is no credible way to give Congress more time,” he said. “There’s no constitutional option. There’s no delay option. There’s no creative financial option. They have to act by the 2nd.”
Congressional leaders will meet to continue negotiations with Obama at the White House this evening.
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