Obama, Boehner lob shots at each other in dueling press conferences

If you were looking for an agreement on the debt ceiling stalemate to happen on Monday, you were no doubt disappointed. House Republicans are, as they were over the weekend, pushing for a short-term extension in the debt ceiling with $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. Much like “Cut, Cap and Balance,” Boehner’s proposal doesn’t directly deal with entitlements. It merely creates a committee that would eventually produce a proposal for reform, which will be given an up or down vote. Committees on spending never really cutting much of anything, so skepticism there is justified.

The White House has rejected the short-term approach. Republicans say that President Barack Obama doesn’t want to deal with this fight again before the 2012 election.

As noted yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan is a longer extension in the debt ceiling (until at least the beginning of 2013, well after the election) and $2.7 trillion in spending cuts. However, Reid proposal counts savings from Afghanistan and Iraq and, much like Boehner’s proposal, doesn’t touch entitlements. Some parts of Reid’s plan include elements of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, specifically the savings from Afghanistan and Iraq.

While President Obama has blasted the plan from House Republicans and backed the proposal from Senate Democrats, Philip Klein notes that there are some similarities between the two:


— Both plans claim to reduce discretionary spending by $1.2 trillion.

—Both plans create a joint, bipartisan, Congressional committee to find future savings.

— Neither plan includes specific entitlement reform.

—Neither plan includes specific tax increases.


— Reid’s plan wants to raise the debt ceiling all in one chunk (and boosts the claimed deficit reduction number by relying on savings from the expected wind down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), but Boehner it raised in two parts.

— While both plans endorse a joint committee, the Boehner plan makes the second debt limit increase contingent on Congress passing $1.8 trillion in additional deficit-reduction based on its recommendations.

— Boehner plan would ensure a vote in both chambers on a Balanced Budget Amendment.

— Boehner proposes caps to future spending.

Klein sees room for compromise on the Balanced Budget Amendment vote. However, Boehner’s biggest obstacle right now may be convincing conservatives in his own caucus to back his plan.

All of this led to a war of words in dueling press conferences last night. President Obama spent almost 15 minutes repeat the same old talking points; inciting class warfare, repeating false scare tactics and blaming his predecessor. And while George W. Bush deserves blame for his reckless spending, Obama has been president for over three years now. That net-spending cut he promised during his campaign is far out of reach.

Here is Obama’s speech:

Speaker Boehner spoke for around five minutes just after Obama. He reiterated that President Obama had changed his demands during negotiations last week, which is why the stalemate has continued:

It looks like many are coming to terms with the prospect of the United States losing its AAA credit rating. That is probably going to happen no matter what deal is passed. But it’s not the endof the world. It’s also unlikely that we’ll default on our debt, as the Obama Administration is privately telling financial institutions; despite the frequent scare tactics.

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