James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Maybe Cantor should have stormed out instead

July 14, 2011

Here is how Reuters delicately describes the tense budget meeting:

The U.S. talks on Wednesday lasted nearly two hours and were the stormiest yet. They ended with Obama telling Republicans that “enough’s enough.”

Politico adds a bit more of the flavor:

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. “Eric, don’t call my bluff,” the president said, warning Cantor that he would take his case “to the American people.” He told Cantor that no other president — not Ronald Reagan, the president said — would sit through such negotiations. Democratic sources dispute Cantor’s version of Obama’s walk out, but all sides agree that the two had a blow up. The sources described Obama as “impassioned” but said he didn’t exactly storm out of the room.

And here how a GOP aide describes it to me:

Over the last several days the White House has been walking back the savings on the Biden number.  Thursday it was $2 trillion, Monday it was $1.7-1.8 trillion, Tuesday it was $1.6-1.7-1.8 trillion.  This morning our staff met with White House folks and the wrap up from that meeting said that the WH is now at $1.5 trillion.

Given those figures, [Cantor] pointed out that wherever we are-  it’s a long way from the $2.4 trillion needed to meet House GOP goals of dollar for dollar so he suggested a possible short-term goal in order to avoid default.  He then said to the President that since we can only reach so much in savings and you (President) keep moving the goalposts, I will move off my position of only doing one vote in order to avoid default.

And that’s when Obama started to “lecture” the House Republican majority leader. But either way, it sounds to me like  a final deal might be $1.5 trillion in cuts for a debt ceiling extension through the election. In exchange for no tax hikes, Republicans give on their “dollar for dollar” demand. Maybe this even gets somehow combined with the McConnell plan. Good enough to pass the spending-hawk House Republicans? Given the growing Republican perception that they are dealing with a president with no interest in cutting debt — or even one who wants a debt crisis to help him win reelection in a repeat of 2008 — I think  they just might.

 

 

 

Comments

Good, so let Eric Cantor win the day, month, year and decade, and keep the debt cap in place. Republicans have said as much, they consider lifting the debt cap as compromise enough, according to Pete Roksam, right?

So man up, stop pretending and do it. Just walk away from the negotiating table and get your cuts.

Posted by GRRR | Report as abusive
 

The big issue at moment as Sen. Graham pointed out is that the not raising the debt is manufactured by the House Repub’s. The President and Speaker had an agreement, but Cantor is trying to take over and become speaker. THere are reports that close to 70 house members will not raise the debt for any reason. Even Backman (sp) has said thatdo not raise the debt ceiling and there were little risks to not raising the limit.

The real question is who is in charge of the House Repub’s?

Posted by john2 | Report as abusive
 

It is about time that the President shows some passion. His negotiating tactic has met a recalcitrant Republican, and he needs to change tactics. A little bullying cannot hurt.

Posted by 0okm9ijn | Report as abusive
 

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