Both sides call for cooperation in debt reduction talks
July 9th, 2011
12:13 PM ET
12 years ago

Both sides call for cooperation in debt reduction talks

(CNN) – With the deadline for the debt ceiling negotiations rapidly approaching, President Barack Obama called on Democrats and Republicans to work together to find “a balanced approach” to solving the nation’s debt crisis.

“Right now, we have an extraordinary – and extraordinarily rare – opportunity to move forward in a way that makes sure our government lives within its means,” Obama said in his weekly address. “And I’m hopeful that we will rise to the moment, and seize this opportunity, on behalf of all Americans, and the future we hold in common.”

The Treasury Department has warned that failure to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by August 2 could lead to a possible default, which could provoke skyrocketing interest rates and cause the dollar to plummet.

But both parties have thus far been unable reconcile their radically divergent strategies to solve the nation’s economic crisis, as Republicans refuse to raise taxes in a weak economy and Democrats denounce proposed cuts to entitlement programs as draconian and unacceptable.

In the GOP weekly address, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, said, “There can be no increase in the national debt limit unless it is accompanied by serious spending cuts and reforms.” McMorris Rodgers, the House Republican Conference vice-chair, blasted the Democratic-led Senate for failing to consider any of the job creation bills proposed by the House.

In his address, Obama conceded that the two sides still have “real differences in approach,” but said there is agreement on “some of the big things.”

“We agree that after a decade of racking up deficits and debt, we finally need to get our fiscal house in order. We agree that to do that, both sides are going to have to step outside their comfort zones and make some political sacrifices,” Obama said.

A bipartisan group of eight congressional leaders met behind closed doors with Obama at the White House Thursday to try to hammer out an agreement to raise the limit, but no deal was reached. The group said it will meet again on Sunday afternoon.

In his address, Obama also argued that an agreement is necessary for reducing the nation’s high unemployment rate, which was thrust back into the spotlight Friday after a disappointing jobs report showed that the economy added only 18,000 jobs in June.

“By getting our fiscal house in order, Congress will be in a stronger position to focus on some of the job-creating measures I’ve already proposed,” Obama said.

But Republicans blamed the low job creation numbers on Obama’s fiscal policies and used the dismal report to blast Democrat’s push for tax increases in the debt negotiations.

“If we’ve learned anything, it’s that we cannot spend, tax, or borrow our way to prosperity. To create jobs and set our country on a sound fiscal course, we must stop spending money we don’t have,” McMorris Rodgers said in her address.

“From the look of things, the Democrats who run Washington don’t have a jobs plan; they have a spending agenda. They’re proposing a rehash of what’s already been tried: more spending, more taxes, and bigger government,” she said.

But while there was little agreement in the dueling addresses, both Obama and McMorris Rodgers concurred on one point: both sides need to work together.

“Mr. President, Americans are asking you, ‘Where are the jobs?’ We invite you to change course and work with us to empower, not burden, our nation’s small businesses, families, and entrepreneurs. We can do this if we work together,” McMorris Rodgers said.

Obama, too, called on a unified approach.

“We can meet our fiscal challenge,” Obama said. “That’s what the American people sent us here to do. …They sent us here to work together. They sent us here to get things done.”

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. B

    Do the Republicans really believe that they can endanger the whole American economy with their outrageous – our way or nothing – behavior and win support ?

    These people are a disgrace to the their profession and this country.

    July 9, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. Hammerer

    That can only mean that another sellout is about to be shoved down the taxpayers throats.
    Government business as usual!

    July 9, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. ranting citizen

    Income taxes in the US are at least a 30 year historical low.
    Social Security is in trouble only because for 40 years our elected "leaders" have borrowed from it to fund oil wars which dictated that they put the trust fund dollars into easily accessible T Bills rather than real investments with real return potential.
    We are spending 8 times the real annual GDP of Afghanistan in that country each year.
    All the terrorists that we are dealing with out of the Middle East have one over-riding concern and have been very vocal about that concern. Hint: it isn't our standard of living or our religious approach within our own country.
    We have allowed the corporations that garnered their success here to export the intellectual property and manufacturing expertise developed here to another part of the world, along with the all jobs that are also involved.
    We have a resident population of illegal immigrants here that closely mirrors the percentage of unemployed American citizens.
    The result is depressed wages, fewer real jobs and extreme pressure on the revenue/ expense equation.

    Does anyone in our government have the stones to frame the question accurately and do something about it?

    July 9, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. April

    As usual, Obama talks out both sides of his mouth. He's in campaign mode now. Just absolutely sickening! He is the one who went on a spending spree like a teenager with an open checkbook, and now "we need to get our fiscal house in order." No sh*t. That would mean making sure you never see the WH after Jan. 2013.

    July 9, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. logic in LA

    Compromise means both sides give something- cutting tax loopholes in exchange for a lower tax base is not compromise- it's a wast of paper. Cut the Trillion dollars both sides want and then raise taxes on the wealthy, oil companies and all the other subsidized private industries. Why don't Republicans call that government interference?

    July 9, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. vic , nashville ,tn

    Why small business not hiring? Prices are gone up economic activity depend on gas
    Price still republicans want to depend on Oil shame

    Past one year health care added jobs (when we were bad shape in economy) now republicans are talking about Medicare cut that impact job market

    We can add jobs on Education look what republicans governors are doing they are cutting on education

    First job then deficit republican’s theory first deficit then jobs

    Jobs strength our economy then reduce the deficit

    July 9, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. These Are Not The Droids You Are Looking For

    Where are the jobs?. What kind of question is this from Republicans who vowed to create jobs if elected in 2010. What are they trying to pull, the JEDI MIND TRICK?

    The Democrats have the advantage and need to go for the Republican political jugular. The question is, does Obama have the bearing to do it? Does he have the cut-throat business experience to do it?

    A US default on it's debt would be laid, rightfully so, at the feet of the Republican Party. The impact on intereste rates of any delay in paying our bills is clear – they would go up. The impact of higher rates on car loans – – and therefore car sales – – and therefore employment – – would be clearly attributable to the GOP. Same is true for the impact on mortgage rates, credit card rates, business loans, corporate borrowings to fund working capital for businesses of all sizes.

    The uncertainty of the US missing payments is already having a chilling effect on hiring. Remember all those GOP claims about what "uncertainty" does to businesses? The GOP is in a very weak position politically.

    If he wants to, President Obama could crush the fallacy of so-called Constitution-loving Republicans & Tea Party members. He need not extend the debt ceiling without action of Congress – though he could.

    Instead, due to the 14th Ammendment stating that the debt of the US can not be allowed to become "INVALID" and the fact that the President of the United Steates takes an oath to uphold, protect and defend said Constitution, Mr. Obama has BROAD latitude to take extreme, UNILATERAL measures to DELAY / CURTAIL / WITHHOLD payments that would contribute to making our debt "invalid". He could stop paying Congress, or DOD contractors, or pay some reduced portion all via Executive Orders to the Treasury Secretary.

    The GOP could run try to run to the Supreme Court. The only problem is. the ENTIRE CONGRESS is the party that would have to complain, not just the GOP-controlled House of Representatives. That means a case can't be brought against the President without the approval of the Senate. Finally, the law, the Constitution, is on the President's side if he were to take these actions. Just how long would all this take? Just how long do you think the Republcan constituents would be able to stand not getting their takebreaks for their yachts?

    Obama & the Democrats have the upper hand if Obama has the courage for Hand-to-Hand combat that he is guaranteed to win. Republican bluster aside, they have finally figured that out and that's why there will be a deal.

    July 9, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. bobden

    To the gop, working together means "do things our way".

    To reduce medicare costs, address the costs increased by hospital administrators, drug companies, and stop subsidizing insurance companies with medicare advantage.

    July 9, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans have not created one job that was promised when they were elected in Congress and not one job has been created since the Republicans shoved the Bush Era Tax Extension down our throats now they want to ignore jobs and talk about deficit. Republicans are no more than the party of Aparthied.

    July 9, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Sgt Schultz

    I highly doubt the Republicans have the backbone to stand-up for the working class but ending the myriad of special tax breaks and loopholes for the Corporatist Elitists – aka the alleged "job creators". Oh no have to protect the special interests and their army of lobbyists from that oppressive big government, protect the corruption, protect the "job creators" to allow them to ship all our jobs to 3rd world sweatshops or Commie China.

    July 9, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. The Elephant in The Room

    President Obama & U.S. Constitution – ONE

    Republican, Tea Party Politicians – ZERO

    That`s why we are going to have a deal. The question is, will the President get his hands a little dirty by delivering the knockout blow.

    Disrespectful, Arrogant, Selfish, Republicans in DC only respect ONE THING – POWER. The President has it and they don`t.

    It would be good for America, and Obama`s street cred in the world, for him to publiclly, crisply, pimp-slap the GOPTP`ers armed with RIGHT on his side.

    July 9, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Yeah, we need a "balanced approach" whereby working Americans are no longer forced by outrageous taxation to support lazy welfare bums.

    July 9, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. trex

    Did BOTH sides run up the deficet? Did both parties support agendas that increased our dept and start and continue wars? Then damn it, both parties MUST compromise........the gop MUST raise taxes on those people and corporations that have gamed our tax system for far too long, AND the DEMS must accept reductions in entitlements , such as means testing for these benefits Get it done. Shared pain is the phrase of the day..

    July 9, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "Do the Republicans really believe that they can endanger the whole American economy with their outrageous – our way or nothing – behavior and win support ?"

    Actually, it's the spendthrift Democrats who are in the process of driving the economy into Greece-like bankruptcy.

    July 9, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    The HELL NO CAUCUS WILL BRING THIS COUNTRY DOWN in order to make him a One-Term President.

    They pledge allegience to Grover Norquist (fascism/corporatism).

    July 9, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Annie, Atlanta

    Cooperation – called for from both sides? Seriously? The Republicans are holding us hostage, dismantling what few safety nets we have, and trying to take from us to give me to the wealthiest in this country. Cooperation. If the President can use the 14th Amendment to call them on holding the debt ceiling hostage to their giveaways to the rich, I certainly hope he does. Don't our representatives take an oath of office when they're sworn in. Isn't what they're doing in direct conflict with that oath?

    July 9, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    But Republicans blamed the low job creation numbers on Obama’s fiscal policies and used the dismal report to blast Democrat’s push for tax increases in the debt negotiations.
    Funny! They wanted to take credit for higher job creation the last 3 or 4 months - what happened? Lower taxes for the wealthy do NOT create jobe (after 10 years that is obvious).

    July 9, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Go Ahead, Knock This Battery Off My Shoulder !

    Republican politicians calling for compromise? Ha, that's a laugh. That can only mean they are afraid. They must be losing.

    Said but that's what their behavior has caused the general public to think of them.

    July 9, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. Len

    GOP says we want to work together......only if you do what we say and want!! We need to examine why the jobs number did not go up as high as they expected: 1. Major coperations are sitting on alot of cash, making alot of money they do not need more workers: 2. Jobs lost are not coming back.....they can do the same job with new software and updated technology: 3. Workes are not skilled for the new jobs that are out there: 4. We forgot that education is important in this country, we became a service industry and did not encourage people to get engineering degrees: 5. States that elected GOP Governors in 2010 are cutting programs like cut to many programs people lose their jobs, unemployment goes up.......Finally, the GOP only cares about the top 2% and big get this house in order, EVERYONE has to take a hit!!!!

    July 9, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. raja

    Republican main agenda is not to do deal to fail president and the whole country.

    July 9, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. K

    No one who votes to decrease social security in any way or put more of the the medical costs on seniors will get my vote. Taxes simply need to go up (in a graduated manor) or those making over 85K per individual or 150K for a couple. Companies need to get taxed more on money they don't reinvest in the business (The incentives to sit on cash have to be decreased) .

    What we are seeing is starve the middle class and poor for the benefit of the rich. The rich ARE as class truly a beast.

    July 9, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. Rick McDaniel

    Yet neither side will move to center.

    July 9, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |