GOP Makes Its Case In Debt Ceiling Talks

Jul 15, 2011
Originally published on July 15, 2011 4:42 pm
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ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

And as NPR's David Welna reports, there were no talks today but plenty of talking.

DAVID WELNA: At his White House news conference, President Obama referred to an unprecedented default on the debt as Armageddon. We should not even be this close to a deadline on this issue, he said and added, this should have been taken cared of earlier.

BARACK OBAMA: We are obviously running out of time, and so what I've said to the members of Congress is that you need, over the next 24 to 36 hours, to give me some sense of what your plan is to get the debt ceiling raised through whatever mechanisms they can think about, and show me a plan in terms of what you're doing for deficit and debt reduction.

WELNA: If the president cast himself today as the man waiting for a plan, House Speaker John Boehner struck a similar pose at a news conference here at the Capitol. If there's no plan at this late hour, he suggested, don't blame Republicans.

JOHN BOEHNER: Time and again, Republicans have offered serious proposals to cut spending and address these issues, and I think it's time for the Democrats to get serious as well.

WELNA: And one Democrat, in particular, Boehner said, needs to get serious.

BOEHNER: We asked the president to lead. We asked him to put forward a plan. Not a speech, a real plan. And he hasn't. But we will.

WELNA: Democrats say that plan would be dead on arrival in the Senate. President Obama today called it just making a political statement.

OBAMA: We don't need a balanced budget amendment. We simply need to make these tough choices and be willing to take on our bases.

WELNA: But Majority Leader Eric Cantor declared on the House floor that Republicans won't agree to raising taxes.

ERIC CANTOR: That's why that construct doesn't work. We don't have the votes on this side of the aisle. I'm not supportive of raising taxes on people who are trying to make it right now and can't.

WELNA: But after having praised that plan yesterday, Speaker Boehner was more cautious about it today after meeting with fellow House Republicans.

BOEHNER: Listen, Senator McConnell pointed out that his plan is being put on the table as a last-ditch effort. We're far from the time for a last-ditch effort.

WELNA: David Welna, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.