Do you think the President maybe kind of misses campaigning? Because, instead of actually just sitting down, maybe locking himself in a room with other top lawmakers, and doing the tough work of negotiating out a fiscal-cliff compromise, President Obama is going back to doing what he does best. Turning to his supporters to try and concentrate public pressure on Washington to get a deal made, the president made a very campaign-style stop at the K’NEX factory in Philadelphia.
“This is not some run-of-the-mill debate. This isn’t about which political party can come out on top in negotiations. We’ve got important decisions to make that are going to have a real impact on businesses and families all across the country,” the president said.
“I’ve been keeping my own naughty and nice lists for Washington. So you should keep your eye on who gets K’NEX this year,” he quipped. “There are going to be some members of Congress who get them, and some who don’t.” One day after the fiscal cliff talks between the White House and House Republicans took a turn for the worse, the president admitted there are going to be “some prolonged negotiations” to get the deficit under control because “you know, in Washington, nothing’s easy.”
“We’ve got some disagreements about the high-end tax cuts, right?” he said of his insistence on raising taxes on the top 2 percent as part of a broader deficit reduction deal. “That’s a disagreement that we’re going to have and we’ve got to sort out. But we already all agree, we say, on making sure middle-class taxes don’t go up. So let’s get that done. Let’s go ahead and take the fear out for the vast majority of American families so that they don’t have to worry about $2,000 coming out of their pockets starting next year.”
I’m not sure how doing the exact same thing the president has been doing for months (years, really) is supposed to help the situation move along, but it’s okay, because he’s got his aides back in Washington on the case — making laughable proposals like $1.6 trillion in new taxes and an end to the debt ceiling, in exchange for… promising to talk about entitlements later. Yes, because a promise to ‘talk about it later’ has such a great track record at problem-solving with the federal government.
Just after the president’s appearance, House Speaker John Boehner gave his take on the situation, the nutshell version of which is: Stasis. So much stasis. Via the NYT:
“There’s a stalemate. Let’s not kid ourselves,” he said. I’m not trying to make this more difficult. If you’ve watched me in the last three weeks I have been very guarded in what I have to say. I don’t want to make it harder for me or the president or members of both parties to be able to find common ground.”
“Right now, we’re almost nowhere,” he concluded.
Mr. Boehner also declared Mr. Obama’s plan unacceptable. But he did not offer a counterproposal. Instead, he decried what he called a lack of seriousness and leadership on the part of the president.
“Republicans are not seeking to impose our will on the president. We are seeking a bipartisan solution that can pass both houses of Congress and can be signed into law by the president in the coming days,” he said.