President Barack Obama held his second press conference in as many weeks today to discuss negotiations to raise the debt limit and lower the deficit.
Obama was quick to praise Speaker of the House John Boehner for his work in negotiating a “big” deficit reduction deal.
“I think Speaker Boehner has been sincere in trying to do something big,” he said. Adding “he’s a good man.”
He also ruled out a short-term increase to the debt limit, saying it would increase uncertainty in the markets.
“I will not sign a 30 day or a 60 day or a 90 day extension,” he said.
Obama added that he has spoken with many business leaders who are supportive of new revenues in the deficit deal, but are “hesitant” to share their views publicly because they have pet-issues pending before Congress. “They don’t want to make Congress mad,” he said.
Earlier today Boehner told the conservative radio host Laura Ingraham that “Tax hikes never had a place in this discussion and never will.”
Obama clarified that no one is proposing raising taxes now, only first in 2013 as the economy recovers.
He also tried to put to rest any doubts about his ability to negotiate a final deal, saying “We are going to get this done by Aug. 2.”
Obama and congressional leaders will return to the negotiating table at 2 p.m. today.
“We are going to meet every single day until we get this thing resolved,” he said.
Read the liveblog below:
11:54: And Obama is done.
11:54: “This is not a right or left, conservative or liberal situation. It’s how we act in a smart way.”
11:53: Obama: “Let’s act now, let’s get this problem off the table.”
11:51: Obama: “This unemployment rate has been really stubborn.”
11:49: He mentions his letters from citizens again — a frequent tactic to avoid an unsettling question.
11:48: Obama says this recession has been especially hard on “those who have less.”
11:47: last question
11:47: Obama says a “big deal” would require a lot of work on the part of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and myself to bring Democrats” to supporting the deal.
11:46: Obama refuses to speculate whether Boehner can deliver Republican votes — calls the Speaker “a good man”
11:45: Obama: We are going to get this done by Aug. 2.
11:44: “There are a lot of well-meaning business people out there who want to see something. They are hesitant to be as forthcoming as I’d like about what a balanced approach means.”
11:43: Obama says he has spoken extensively to business leaders about the debt ceiling/deficit. He says “in the abstract” they want a deal on this issue — including revenues. He says they don’t want to weigh in publicly because they have business pending before Congress and
“they don’t want to make Congress mad.”
11:42: Obama evades question on whether he would get behind raising the retirement age. “I’m not going to negotiate with you,” he tells a reporter.
11:42: Obama says he supports creating an infrastructure bank to put people back to work.
11:41: Obama: “If the country as a whole see Washington act responsibility…that will help with businesses feeling more confident…”
11:38: Obama endorses a payroll tax cut as part of a deal.
11:37: Obama says his preference is to provide aid “across the board,” but everything I do “has to go through the House of Representatives.”
11:36: Obama: “I will not accept a deal…in which I am allowed to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need.”
11:35: One word to describe this press conference from PoliticalWire: Triangulation
11:34: “I’m willing to move in their direction in order to get something done.”
11:34: Obama suggesting Social Security spending cuts would be funneled back in to Social Security trust fund, not deficit reduction
11:33: Obama: “Social Security is not the source of our deficit problems.”
11:33: “We’re gonna have a sales job…It is hard to convince people to do hard things.”
11:32: Obama specifically mentioned “trimming” entitlement benefits.
11:30: Obama: “Medicare will run out of money…it’s not an option for us to just sit by and do nothing.”
Obama to progressives: We have “obligation” to make entitlements sustainable.
11:29: Boehner just released a statement. Says he told Laura Ingraham today that “Tax Hikes Never Had a Place in This Discussion & Never Will”
11:28: “I think Speaker Boehner has been sincere in trying to do something big”
11:27: Obama: “I’d rather be talking about … new programs or the NFL season getting resolved. Unfortunately, this is what’s on our plate.”
11:26: Obama says public not following the debt ceiling talks.
“They shouldn’t.” “We’re paid to worry about it.”
11:25: “If Speaker Boehner and Mitch McConnell are sincere about not wanting the U.S. to default, they’re going to have to make some compromises,” in order for a deal to pass Congress.
11:24: Obama: “I have bent over backwards” so Republicans don’t have to increase taxes.
11:23: Obama says “no one is looking to raise taxes right now.” Only proposition is to raise taxes beginning in 2013.
11:21: “I am prepared to take significant heat from my party to get it done.”
11:20: Obama “I will not sign a 30 day or a 60 day or a 90 day extension.”
It’s not going to get easier, it’s going to get harder.
Pull off the band aid, eat our peas.
11:19: Obama opens it up for questions, AP up first
11:18: Of conversations with leaders: “Bring back to me some ideas you think can get the necessary number of votes.”
“I will not consider a short-term temporary stopgap solution to this problem.”
“We don’t manage our affairs in three month increments.”
“We don’t risk U.S. Default on our obligations because we can’t put politics aside.”
11:17: Obama says there is resistance on both sides. Democrats on entitlements, Republicans on revenue.
11:17: On making a deal: “I think it would give the American people enormous confidence that this town could do something good once in a while.”
11:16: It is possible to construct a package that involves shared sacrifice, changes to medicare and medicaid to preserve programs for the future.
Also says a deal can bring in revenues, without holding back the economy.
11:15: Obama: Now is the time to deal with these issues. “If not now, when.”
11:14: “All of us agree we should use this opportunity to do something meaningful on debt and deficit.”
Obama confirms that reports his discussions with Speaker Boehner on a big deal “were mostly accurate.”
11:13: Here is Obama: “We are going to meet every single day until we get this thing resolved.”
11:12: We just got the two-minute warning. Almost there.
11:08: The TV correspondents are still standing at the front of the White House briefing room, meaning the two-minute warning still hasn’t been given.
Hang in there folks.
11:02: President Obama is running a few minutes late (as usual). He will probably make a short statement on the situation in Syria at the top of the news conference.
10:59: Expect Obama to be pressed on whether he supports cutting entitlement benefits.
Also, expect him to weigh in again on the need for revenues in a debt ceiling / deficit reduction deal.
He will likely concede that a a “big” $4 trillion deal is now off the table.
10:56: President Obama is scheduled to take the podium in just a few minutes.
10:36: Obama will meet with Congressional leaders to discuss the stalled negotiations at 2 p.m. today.
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