Inside the debt talks
Jake Tapper of ABC News offers an INTERESTING ACCOUNT of the back-and-forth at yesterday’s bipartisan discussion of the debt crisis.
Republicans are still insisting on no new taxes. Democrats say they need some revenues – a “balanced approach” – to get Democratic votes. As House Minority WHIP Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said today, “Republicans must be prepared to make concessions of their own and not put the entire burden on seniors, the middle class and the most vulnerable among us.” Hoyer told Cantor “you won’t get one Democratic vote” for his cuts-only proposal.
Congressional leaders will need Democratic votes not only in the Senate but the House as well. “You’ve got the (Michele) Bachmann Caucus that has made it clear they won’t vote for anything,” one Democratic official said.
Boehner said at one point that “it’s clear to all of us how big this spending problem is. Congress keeps voting for programs we can’t pay for. But look, entitlement cuts aren’t easy for us to vote for either. Our guys aren’t cheerleading about cutting entitlements.”
“Your guys already voted for them,” the president said, referring to the budget offered by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.
But the best zinger in Tapper’s account was this one:
“Ronald Reagan would have accepted this plan,” one of the Democratic officials said.
Which brings to mind THIS POST from yesterday.
UPDATE: Here’s ANOTHER ACCOUNT of the talks:
Eric Cantor proposed a series of spending cuts, one of them aimed squarely at college students.
The House majority leader, who did most of the talking for the Republican side, said those taking out student loans should start paying interest right away, rather than being able to defer payments until after graduation. It is a big-ticket item that would save $40 billion over 10 years.
At one point, sources say, President Obama pushed back against the mounting menu of spending cuts while the tax column on the negotiating sheets remained blank. He asked the Republican leaders how they expected him to take their proposals seriously.
“I’m not going to do that,” Obama said. “I’m not going to take money from old people and screw students,” not without some compromise on the tax-increase side.