Maybe Cantor should have stormed out instead
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.