President Obama and eight Congressional leaders are meeting again at the White House to continue efforts at forging a debt reduction plan. Earlier, the President briefed the press on the status of the negotiations.
President Obama said the Republicans need to come to the plate and work to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over ten years. Obama said, “What I’ve said to them is let’s go.” He said he has “bent over backwards to work with Republicans.”
Speaker Boehner held his own news conference this afternoon, just thirty minutes before the next debt meeting is set to begin, where he told reporters that Republicans will not vote to raise taxes. He said instead of raising taxes, "we need to broaden the [tax] base."
The negotiations hit a major roadblock over the weekend as the group of 8 was ready to meet for a second time Sunday evening, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said a $4 trillion agreement was not possible. In a press release on Saturday evening, Boehner stated that he now preferred a much more modest plan because Congressional Republicans refuse to accept any new tax increases.
President Obama said tax increases being discussed would not go into affect until 2013 and that they would close "loopholes" and end the Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy. “I will not accept a deal in which I am asked to do nothing," Obama said referring to his tax status with an income registering in the millions.
Meanwhile, many Democrats are skeptical of any discussions about entitlements. House Minority Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said in a press statement following the meeting that Democrats are "still hopeful" for a bipartisan plan that would "protect" Medicare and Social Security recipients and not shift Medicaid costs to state governments.
President Obama and the eight Congressional leaders plan to meet every day until a plan can be agreed upon before the August 2nd deadline Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner imposed on Congress to lift the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.
Despite the deadlock, President Obama issued a statement of assurance: “We are going to get this done by August 2nd.” He said he would not sign a short-term 30- or 60-day debt limit increase.
Meanwhile, the Senate passed 69-27 a procedural motion on a non-binding, non-specific measure written by the Democratic leadership that says millionaires and billionaires must contribute their "fair share" to reduce the deficit. The Senate will now begin debate on the measure and Republicans are expected to offer amendments to alter the bill.