Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown, July 25, 2011: President Obama & Speaker John Boehner Each Address the Nation on Crisis & Competing Debt Ceiling Plans — Each Blames the Other

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Pool photo by Jim Watson, left; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner each addressed the nation on Monday.

JULY 25, 2011: PRESIDENT OBAMA & SPEAKER BOEHNER ADDRESS NATION ON COMPETING DEBT CEILING PLANS

Obama urges Congress to reach deal on debt ceiling: President Obama said in a prime-time speech Monday night that, unless Congress agrees quickly to a long- term increase in the federal debt ceiling, “we would risk sparking a deep economic crisis, this one caused almost entirely by Washington.” He asked Americans to urge their lawmakers in Congress to strike a deal on the issue. He said he would not agree to a short-term increase, as proposed by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), saying it amounted to “kicking the can down the road.” He added: “We can’t allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington’s political warfare.”

Boehner: ‘The solution to this crisis is not complicated’: House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a prime-time address Monday night that he intends to continue pushing a short-term raise in the federal debt ceiling, despite President Obama’s objection that such a move does not solve the problem.
“The solution to this crisis is not complicated. … We are up to the task, and I hope President Obama will join us,” Boehner said. The speaker said that, in negotiations with Obama over a long-term debt deal, “I made a sincere effort to work with the president. … I gave it my all. Unfortunately, the president could not take yes for an answer.” He added: “The president wanted a blank check six months ago, and he wants a blank check today,. This is not going to happen.”

President Obama Addresses the Nation on Debt Ceiling Crisis, Blames House Republicans, Suggests Raising Taxes

Speaker John Boehner’s Address to the Nation on the Republican’s (GOP) Plan for America’s Debt Crisis — Response Blames President Obama’s Inability to Agree on a Deal

  • Parties Head to Showdown as Obama Warns of a ‘Crisis’: The Democratic-led Senate and Republican-led House on Monday barreled toward a showdown on competing plans to cut spending and raise the debt limit as a resolution to the intensifying crisis remained farther from sight just one week before a possible federal default.
    With President Obama trying to employ the power of the presidency to force an agreement, House and Senate leaders said votes could occur as early as Wednesday on competing proposals to slash spending in exchange for increasing federal borrowing authority that the Treasury Department says will be exhausted Aug. 2, raising the prospect that federal bills will go unpaid.
    It was a day of legislative chess moves, back-to-back party caucuses and closed-door meetings that ended with a nationally televised presidential address and a rebuttal by the House speaker, John A. Boehner. Their separate speeches reflected that the two sides are farther apart than ever — just a week ago, the two men were in private negotiations on a “grand bargain” of spending cuts and additional revenue, what Mr. Obama called “a balanced approach.”
    “The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on its way to becoming law right now is because a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a different approach, a cuts-only approach — an approach that doesn’t ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all,” Mr. Obama said in his address. “And because nothing is asked of those at the top of the income scales, such an approach would close the deficit only with more severe cuts to programs we all care about — cuts that place a greater burden on working families.”
    Even as he sought to set Republicans up for blame for any crisis, Mr. Obama offered assurance that a crisis would be averted. He called on Americans to contact their lawmakers in support of a compromise. “We would risk sparking a deep economic crisis — this one caused almost entirely by Washington,” he said. “Defaulting on our obligations is a reckless and irresponsible outcome to this debate.
    In response to Mr. Obama, Mr. Boehner said: “The sad truth is that the president wanted a blank check six months ago, and he wants a blank check today. That is just not going to happen.”
    Mr. Boehner urged the president to sign a Republican plan to raise the debt limit. “If the president signs it,” he said, “the ‘crisis’ atmosphere he has created will simply disappear. The debt limit will be raised.”… – NYT, 7-25-11
  • Obama urges GOP to break ‘stalemate’ over debt talks: President Obama on Monday used a nationally televised address to urge House Republicans to stop standing in the way of a deal to tame the nation’s debt and raise the federal limit on borrowing, making his most direct appeal to the American people in the confrontation over the debt.
    Obama said failure to raise the debt ceiling within the next week “would risk sparking a deep economic crisis.” He said he would not be able to pay all of the government’s bills, including Social Security checks and veterans’ benefits.
    The president endorsed a Senate Democratic plan unveiled Monday that would save $2.7 trillion in spending over 10 years in exchange for raising the federal debt ceiling through 2012. He rejected a competing House Republican plan that could save up to $3 trillion while raising the debt ceiling in two stages — the first lasting six months.
    Obama reserved his harshest words for House Republicans as he called on them to join him in breaking a “stalemate” and forging a compromise that balances cuts in government spending with new tax revenues from the wealthy and corporations.
    “The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on its way to becoming law right now is because a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a cuts-only approach – an approach that doesn’t ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all,” Obama said in the East Room of the White House.In a response following the president’s statement, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans had fought to rein in the national debt, but that Obama had refused to compromise.
    “I want you to know I made a sincere effort to work with the president to identify a path forward,” Boehner said. “Unfortunately, the president would not take yes for an answer. Even when we thought we might be close on an agreement, the president’s demands changed.” “The president has often said we need a ‘balanced’ approach — which in Washington means: we spend more. . .you pay more,” the speaker said. “Having run a small business, I know those tax increases will destroy jobs.” “The United States cannot default on its debt obligations,” Boehner said.
    “The solution to this crisis is not complicated: If you’re spending more money than you’re taking in, you need to spend less of it,” he said. “I’ve always believed, the bigger [the] government, the smaller the people.”… – WaPo, 7-25-11
  • Debt ceiling speeches given by Obama, Boehner: President Barack Obama used a rare prime-time address Monday to rally support behind the Democratic plan for raising the debt limit, a high-stakes bid to isolate Republicans with only a week left to avert a government default.
    In a 15-minute speech from the White House, Obama made the case for compromise between Democrats and Republicans, saying it is the only way to prevent default that could be catastrophic to the economy.
    “Unfortunately, for the past several weeks, Republican House members have essentially said that the only way they’ll vote to prevent America’s first-ever default is if the rest of us agree to their deep, spending cuts-only approach,” Obama said. “If that happens, and we default, we would not have enough money to pay all of our bills — bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.”
    Obama called for unity, on one hand, but he also bashed Republicans, arguing that their tactics “risk sparking a deep economic crisis — one caused almost entirely by Washington.”
    “Defaulting on our obligations is a reckless and irresponsible outcome to this debate,” Obama said. “And Republican leaders say that they agree we must avoid default. But the new approach that Speaker Boehner unveiled today, which would temporarily extend the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts, would force us to once again face the threat of default just six months from now. In other words, it doesn’t solve the problem.”
    In an extraordinary contrast, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) delivered a response only minutes later from the Capitol. The back-to-back speeches underscored the deep divide that remains between the two central figures in the debt-limit drama.
    “The sad truth is that the president wanted a blank check six months ago, and he wants a blank check today,” Boehner said. “That is just not going to happen.”
    Obama decided to deliver the prime-time address after three days of little progress…. – Politico, 7-25-11
  • Obama Warns ‘World Is Watching’ as Boehner Says GOP’s Efforts on Debt Have Been Rejected: President Obama on Monday night urged a “balanced approach” in crafting a deal to raise the debt ceiling, saying a Republican proposal to temporarily extend the debt limit would lead the country back to the same arguments on spending and taxes in six months from now.
    “That is no way to run the greatest country on Earth. It is a dangerous game we’ve never played before, and we can’t afford to play it now. … We can’t allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington’s political warfare,” the president said in a televised address to the nation.
    Instead, Obama said he wants tax increases paired with spending reductions that will put the U.S. debate past the next election and keep the country from defaulting on its loans to creditors, set to come due on Aug. 2.
    “The entire world is watching. So let’s seize this moment to show why the United States of America is still the greatest nation on Earth,” Obama said. “The debate right now isn’t about whether we need to make tough choices. Democrats and Republicans agree on the amount of deficit reduction we need. The debate is about how it should be done.”
    House Speaker John Boehner, delivering the Republican response after Obama spoke — the first such live response aside from the State of the Union in nearly four years — said Obama was looking for a “blank check” to fund his administration’s “spending binge.” He accused Obama of not negotiating in good faith…. – Fox News, 7-25-11
  • Obama urges Americans to back ‘balanced’ debt plan: President Obama asked Americans tonight to pressure congressional Republicans to accept a “balanced plan” to reduce the federal debt through taxes as well as budget cuts in order to stave off a government default that will kill jobs and slow the economy.
    “The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government,” Obama said during a prime-time speech at the White House.
    House Speaker John Boehner — who is promoting an alternative debt plan with no tax increases — said in a responding speech that Obama’s definition of balance means “we spend more and you pay more.”… – USA Today, 7-25-11
  • Obama takes debt case to American people: With just eight days left before a possible economic catastrophe, President Obama on Monday took his argument for a “balanced” debt limit agreement to the American people, arguing in a prime time address that voters should call their members of Congress in support of a deal that “asks everyone to give a little without requiring anyone to sacrifice too much.”
    Speaking from the White House, the president lambasted Republicans for what he cast as a refusal to compromise, arguing that the nation faces a possible “deep economic crisis- one caused almost entirely by Washington.”
    “Republican House members have essentially said that the only way they’ll vote to prevent America’s first-ever default is if the rest of us agree to their deep, spending cuts-only approach,” Mr. Obama said. “If that happens, and we default, we would not have enough money to pay all of our bills – bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.”
    “It is a dangerous game we’ve never played before, and we can’t afford to play it now,” he warned. “People are fed up with a town where compromise has become a dirty word.”
    Mr. Obama continued to ask Republicans to accept revenue increases for the wealthiest Americans, saying they and large corporations should “give up some of their tax breaks and special deductions.”
    Arguing that Republican leaders were acting outside of the interests of their constituents, Mr. Obama called on voters to “make your voice heard.”
    “The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government,” he said. “So I’m asking you all to make your voice heard. If you want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, let your Member of Congress know. If you believe we can solve this problem through compromise, send that message.”… – CBS News, 7-25-11
  • Obama Speaks to Nation as Debt Talks Intensify; Boehner to Give GOP Response: President Obama, in a nationally televised address to the nation Monday, urged a “balanced approach” in crafting a deal to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the federal deficit ahead of the Treasury’s Aug. 2 deadline, when the country is said to risk default on its debt.
    “The entire world is watching. So let’s seize this moment to show why the United States of America is still the greatest nation on Earth,” Obama said. “Not just because we can still keep our word and meet our obligations, but because we can still come together as one nation,”
    He said that, although some Democrats are reluctant to make deep cuts to domestic programs, “enough are willing to accept them if the burden is fairly shared,” rather than the “cuts-only” approach of the Republicans that Obama said would “place a greater burden on working families.”
    House Speaker John Boehner was scheduled to deliver the Republican response after Obama speaks.
    Republicans and Democrats outlined separate deficit-reduction proposals Monday afternoon, pushing ahead with bills that have a questionable chance of passing as the showdown over the debt ceiling intensified…. – Fox News, 7-25-11
  • A ‘Unique Opportunity’ on the Debt Ceiling, Lost: Leaders of both parties have said for months that the need to raise the nation’s borrowing limit offered a “unique opportunity” for a bipartisan deal that would constrain the mounting federal debt. Instead, it is shaping up to be a lost opportunity.
    Whatever deal Congress and President Obama devise in this final week to allow the government to keep paying its bills after Aug. 2 and avert an economy-rattling default, it almost certainly will fall short of the compromise that Mr. Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, nearly struck last week — before details of the negotiations leaked, opponents in both parties protested and Mr. Boehner left the table.
    The difference between that attempted “grand bargain” and what Congress is coming up with is not just a matter of dollars. Mr. Obama and Mr. Boehner did tentatively agree to more than $3 trillion in savings over 10 years — at least hundreds of billions more than is called for in the fallback plans now bandied about in Congress to clear the way for a vote to increase the $14.3 trillion borrowing ceiling by next Tuesday.
    But the more significant difference is in where the savings would come from. The Congressional proposals mainly seek caps on annual spending for domestic and military programs and no additional revenues…. – NYT, 7-25-11
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