The debt limit negotiations between President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders came to a sudden, if temporary, stop on Wednesday, with the President walking out on the talks. This is according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who gave reporters in the Capital an unexpected, detailed account of the meeting shortly after its end.
“When Cantor said the two sides were too far apart to get a deal that could pass the House by the Treasury Department’s Aug. 2 deadline — and that he would consider moving a short-term debt-limit increase alongside smaller spending cuts — Obama began to lecture him,” according to POLITICO. “‘Eric, don’t call my bluff,’ the president said, warning Cantor that he would take his case ‘to the American people.’”
“He shoved back and said ‘I’ll see you tomorrow’ and walked out,” Cantor told reporters.
Democrats disagree with Cantor’s account, with one source telling The Hill that Cantor’s account was “overblown,” but the President “said what he was going to say, he got up and walked out.”
“The climax of the meeting was the president basically saying ‘what’s happening in this room confirms what everybody across the country thinks about Washington, D.C.,’” the official told the news source. “Which is that people are more interested in protecting their base and political positioning than solving problems.”
Before the meeting Wednesday, Cantor made a statement that the President needed to be more willing to work with Republicans on areas of mutual concurrence: “Though none of the plans being discussed right now could garner the 218 votes needed for House passage, we have found areas of agreement… As we move forward in this debate, I would ask that we work in earnest on these areas of commonality instead of demanding that areas of agreement are tied to items of fundamental disagreement like raising taxes.”