Obama Softening on Debt Limit Vote?

by Andrew Stiles

Speaking to reporters following their meeting with President Obama at the White House this morning, GOP leaders continued to insist that Republicans would not support an increase to the federal debt limit without meaningful action to reign in the deficit and reduce spending. House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) even indicated that President Obama said he would be willing support the attachment of spending cut measures to the debt limit increase, as opposed to a “clean” up or down vote, something the White House had previously called for. Boehner said they had a “frank and serious discussion” about about the urgency of the federal debt crisis and the need address it.

“We’ve made it clear to the president, and I think the president is pretty serious about this as well, that we’ve got to take meaningful step toward solving our long-term debt problem if in fact we’re going to find the votes to increase the debt ceiling,” Boehner said. “I think the president heard us loud and clear.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said of the White House meeting that all sides “agreed to put aside talking points . . . and deal with what’s doable” in pursuit of a bipartisan solution to the debt crisis. He cited bipartisan opposition to raising the debt limit in the Senate without “something significant” attached. He added: “In my view the definition of significant is: Is what we do viewed as credible by the markets, by the American people and by foreign countries? No more blue smoke and mirrors, no more gamesmanship.”

McConnell once again drew a line in the sand on taxes, saying “we will not be discussing raising taxes” as part of an agreement to raise the debt limit. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) said that “the only concrete plan” President Obama will put forward in his speech at George Washington University this afternoon would be to increase taxes on high income earners, something he called “very unacceptable.”

“The president has not come forward with any specifics as far as how we’re going to deal with our debt obligation,” Cantor said. “I’m looking forward to seeing specifics and to getting serious so we can respond to this debt crisis that we’re facing.”

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) has also expressed interested in a possible bipartisan compromise on the debt limit.

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