The president took to the bully pulpit on short notice shortly after 6 PM on a Friday to deliver yet another laundry list of things he had offered to the Republicans. Apparently John Boehner wasn’t hearing anything he could manage to get through the House GOP caucus and he walked away.
Obama: “We have run out of time. I told John Boehner, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell that they need to be here at 11:00 tomorrow.”
“I expect them to have an answer as to how they expect to get this done in the next week.”
Boehner will take up talks over the weekend with Democratic leaders in Congress rather than the president. We’ll provide updates on this as the situation develops.
Obama: “I’ve been left at the alter now a couple of times. [by Speaker Boehner]
“If [the GOP] can only demand massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare with no revenue on the table, it’s going to be pretty difficult for us to find a way to go.”
“I couldn’t get a phone call returned from Speaker Boehner.”
NOTE: We’ve requested a statement from the RNC. Will get that as soon as possible.
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell praises Boehner for “opposing the President’s call for higher taxes”
House Speaker John Boehner has walked away from negotiations with President Obama over a deal to raise the debt limit.
“In the end, we couldn’t connect. Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country,” Boehner said in a letter to colleagues. He said Mr. Obama ” is emphatic that taxes have to be raised” and “adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs.”
“For these reasons, I have decided to end discussions with the White House and begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a path forward,” he said. (Read the letter here)
Obama: “I am less confident that [Republicans] are willing to step up to the plate and do what is required to do.”
Some conclusions: The president looked in an absolute snit when he took to the podium. It’s difficult to imagine that this was carefully prepared text. His “solution” at this point is to call congressional leaders back to the talks in the morning and toss it into their laps. Considering that Pelosi and Reid are already more angry than he would like at the entitlement cuts he was trying to put on the table, where will that get them?
UPDATE: From the Speaker:
In the end, we couldn’t connect. Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country. The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised. As a former small businessman, I know tax increases destroy jobs.
The president is adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs. As the father of two daughters, I know these programs won’t be there for their generation unless significant action is taken now.
Sounds like Boehner is sticking to his guns, contrary to rumors in the New York Times that he was getting ready to fold his tent and go home.
UPDATE: From Grover Norquist.
“The deal all along was that if the president wanted to raise the debt ceiling by $2.5T he would have to come up with $2.5T in cuts without a tax increase. That didn’t happen.”
Speaker Boehner will be holding a presser shortly to update everyone on tonight’s developments. As soon as we have the text it will be posted here.
Boehner: (This is an abbreviated version of the full comments the Speaker will deliver)
No one wants to default on the full faith and credit of the United States and I have confidence that we will not.
The White House moved the goal posts. They demanded $400B more in taxes on the American people. And they refused to get serious on the issue of cutting taxes and protecting the best interests of the people of the United States.
This is a serious debate. It’s a debate about jobs, the economy, and the future of our country. Until recently, the president was demanding we increase the debt limit with no strings attached. I immediately responded and said that the American people would not tolerate this without cuts which exceeded the increase in the debt limit, without taxes, and without protecting the future of the people of the United States.
FYI, this wasn’t some canned speech for Boehner they could set up in advance. He’s firing largely from the gut and, if I might say, handling it with a tremendous deal of decorum.
Also, in response to a couple of comments, I’ll try to clean up the text this evening but I was pasting things in and typing pretty fast.
More coverage of Boehner’s comments:
“The White House moved the goalpost,” Boehner said in a news conference, claiming that the talks broke down when the White House demanded an additional $400 billion in new revenues to the $800 billion that was agreed upon, “which was going to be nothing more than a tax increase on the American people.”
Boehner also said, “They refused to get serious about cutting spending and making the tough choices that are facing our country on entitlement reform.”
In a hastily arranged news conference in the White House briefing room before Boehner spoke to reporters, a visibly irritated Obama said that “it’s hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this deal.”
“This was an extraordinarily fair deal,” he said, explaining that the White House offered more than $1 trillion in cuts to discretionary spending, both domestic and defense and $650 billion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in exchange for $1.2 trillion in new revenues.
After informing the president in a phone call of his decision to walk away, Boehner sent a letter to lawmakers saying, “In the end, we couldn’t connect. Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country.”
Video of the speaker’s response: (Courtesy of The Right Scoop)