Speaker of the House John Boehner ruled out a “grand bargain” on the deficit and the debt ceiling Saturday night, ending hopes for a historic $4 trillion deal.”Despite good-faith efforts to find common ground, the White House will not pursue a bigger debt reduction agreement without tax hikes,” Boehner said, leaving room for a more modest deal that would only cut spending by the amount of the debt ceiling increase.
The Republican position on tax increases was nothing new to Obama, who appears to have ignored Boehner’s oft-repeated “bottom-line,” that a deal not include any new taxes.
Boehner simply cannot accept tax increases — no matter how deep Obama’s proposed spending cuts are — or risk losing the Speaker’s office to the more conservative House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).
Obama appears to be unwilling to take the Boehner-offered deal of cuts to corporate subsidies in exchange for no tax increases in the “grand bargain,” believing it to be a political liability with the Democratic base.
In response, Obama renewed his call for those with higher incomes to contribute more to the federal government.
“We need a balanced approach that asks the very wealthiest and special interests to pay their fair share as well, and we believe the American people agree,” said White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer in a statement.
The bottom line from Pfeiffer’s statement is that Obama still thinks he can strong-arm Republicans into passing a “balanced” deficit reduction agreement including taxes — an increasingly remote possibility.
Obama and congressional leaders will restart negotiations of a small proposal tomorrow evening at the White House.
Read the full statement from Pfeiffer below:
“The President believes that solving our fiscal problems is an economic imperative. But in order to do that, we cannot ask the middle-class and seniors to bear all the burden of higher costs and budget cuts. We need a balanced approach that asks the very wealthiest and special interests to pay their fair share as well, and we believe the American people agree.
Both parties have made real progress thus far, and to back off now will not only fail to solve our fiscal challenge, it will confirm the cynicism people have about politics in Washington. The President believes that now is the moment to rise above that cynicism and show the American people that we can still do big things. And so tomorrow, he will make the case to congressional leaders that we must reject the politics of least resistance and take on this critical challenge.”
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