President Barack Obama abruptly left today’s negotiating session to raise the debt ceiling and lower the deficit, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) told reporters after the meeting.Cantor said Obama walked-out “angrily” after he offered to support two separate debt ceiling votes — a proposal Obama had repeatedly said he would veto.
“Eric, don’t call my bluff,” Obama said according to Cantor moments before storming out of the meeting. “I’m going to take this to the American people.”
Cantor said all progress in the debt talks has been erased.
Update: According to Fox News, a senior Democratic aide pushed back at Cantor’s account, saying “Congressman Cantor is the last person who should complain of people abruptly walking out of meetings.”
Cantor publicly quit the deficit talks led by Vice President Joe Biden last month.
Republicans reportedly used the talks to criticise Obama’s proposed spending cuts as “gimmicks and accounting tricks,” according to Reuters.
Update 2: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said no progress was made on the talks today.
“The president is putting a lot of time and energy into getting an agreement, and it’s tough,” Hoyer told POLITICO.
According to Cantor, Obama said that the group has until Friday to figure out “which way we’re going.” They will return to the White House tomorrow to try to get the talks back on track.
Update 3: Reuters is reporting that Obama would not back down on a comprehensive deal to raise debt ceiling, even if it jeopardizes his reelection chances.
“Would Ronald Reagan be sitting here,” he reportedly asked. “I’ve reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.”
Update 4: Democratic aides continue to push back against Cantor’s account, telling NBC’s Luke Russert that Cantor was rude at the end of the meeting, and Obama ended it.
“Dem Aide, no walk out: Cantor rudely interrupted POTUS 3 times to advocate for short-term debt ceiling increases while BO was wrapping mtg,” Russert tweeted.
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