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Obama Steps Up Deficit Talks, But Can There Be ‘A Grand Bargain’?

July 11, 2011 by  

Obama Steps Up Deficit Talks, But Can There Be ‘A Grand Bargain’?

In a press briefing today, President Barack Obama announced that he will meet with Congressional leaders again today, and every following day, until an agreement on the debt and deficit can be reached. The President continued to express optimism, saying,not only will a deal be reached by the Aug. 2 deadline, but also that the resulting deal will be large.

“We should use this opportunity to do something significant,” the President said. Such a deal would prove to the American people that “this town can actually do something once in a while.”

The mainstream media are calling the proposed deal “a grand bargain,” after a statement made by Democratic Leader Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after the Sunday debt talks: “We came into this weekend with the prospect that we could achieve a grand bargain.”

However, such “a grand bargain”—originally rumored to amount to $4 trillion in spending cuts, but also including large tax hikes—has received correspondingly immense amounts of criticism from both sides of the aisle. POLITICO reports that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has faced especially tough criticism for his seeming willingness to compromise, and may soon find himself outshined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

“It’s crazy to think the speaker was considering a trillion (dollars) in tax increases. After all, we’re the anti-tax party,” one Republican lawmaker close to leadership told the news site. “Cantor brought him, the economy and our party back from the abyss. Cantor is strengthened, clearly. And it’s another example of the speaker almost slipping beyond the will of the GOP conference.”

Boehner has since officially backed away from his support of “a grand bargain.” For his part, in today’s briefing Obama defended Boehner, saying that the Speaker is “a good man who wants to do right by the country,” and acknowledging the trouble Boehner may face in convincing those Republicans “not in the (negotiation) room” to support any compromise.

Saying that it is time to come to a “big,” “balanced” agreement, Obama suggested that making all the “painful” decisions now will save further political pain later: “pull off the Band-Aid; eat our peas.”

 

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