Obama calls for leaders to work together on debt deal
July 23rd, 2011
11:39 AM ET
12 years ago

Obama calls for leaders to work together on debt deal

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama called on Democratic and Republican leaders to come together and do "the right thing" to resolve the nation's debt crisis Saturday in his weekly address.

He warned that unless an agreement is reached to raise the amount of money the federal government is allowed to borrow, debt will "weaken our economy, cause higher interest rates for families, and force us to scale back things like education and Medicare."

The president summoned congressional leaders to the White House Saturday after House Speaker John Boehner announced Friday night he was pulling out of the debt-ceiling negotiations with the Obama administration.

"Neither party is blameless," Obama said of the nation's debt. "Both parties have a responsibility to do something about it."

If a deal to raise the debt ceiling is not reached by August 2, the nation risks default, and Americans could face problems including rising interest rates, a declining dollar and increasingly jittery financial markets.

Envisioning a way forward, the president said, "We need to put aside our differences to do what's right for the country. Everyone is going to have to be willing to compromise. Otherwise, we'll never get anything done."

Obama advocated a "balanced approach" to cutting the deficit that "goes after waste" and "makes some serious cuts to worthy programs" that wouldn't be made "under normal circumstances."

And he emphasized the need for everyone to "do their part" because "it's not right to ask middle-class families to pay more for college before we ask the biggest corporations to pay their fair share of taxes."

"Before we ask seniors to pay more for Medicare, we should ask the wealthiest taxpayers to give up tax breaks we simply cannot afford under these circumstances," the president added.

Looking to history for support, Obama argued that an approach including "serious cuts, balanced by some new revenues" was also favored by past presidents "from Bill Clinton to Ronald Reagan."

The president admitted there will be plenty to haggle over in the future, but attempted to simplify the complicated issue.

"This debate boils down to a simple choice," he said. "We can come together for the good of the country and reach a compromise or we can issue insults and demands and ultimatums at each other, withdraw to partisan corners, and achieve nothing."

"We know the right thing to do, and we know what the American people expect us to do," he resolved.

House GOP Conference Chair Jeb Hensarling framed the debt debate as the most important discussion for America's fiscal future in the GOP weekly address.

"It's a lack of confidence in our nation's future that's holding our economy back," he said.

"Small business owners are pleading for government to stop the reckless spending, balance the budget, and then just get out of the way."

Pledging that Republicans are committed to "removing government barriers to private sector job growth," the five-term Texas congressman praised the American workforce as "the best entrepreneurs and workers in the world" who can "compete and win against anyone, anywhere, anytime "given a level playing field."

But he cautioned that government interference will harm that potential.

"Our government has gotten so big, so expensive, it's keeping our economy from recovering as it should," Hensarling said.

"If we're going to avoid any type of default and downgrade, if we're going to resume job creation in America, the president and his allies need to listen to the people and work with Republicans to cut up the credit cards once and for all."

Hensarling endorsed the "Cut, Cap and Balance" bill passed by the House but rejected by the Senate and said overall, "It's time to cut, cap and balance. That's what will give us jobs, hope, and opportunity."

Filed under: Budget • Debt • Deficit • GOP weekly address • President Obama
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Bill from GA

    When the Dem President says: "Neither party is blameless," and the repugs and their propaganda machine always blame the dems and our President, the discussion gets moved too much to the right.

    Get over this 'feel good' attitude of equally shared blame and call it like it is: The rppug tax cuts and spending during w's terms, along with the economic meltdown those policies caused, got us into this mess. And it is not up to middle and low income Americans to bear the burden of fixing this mess.

    Maybe you people living in repug House districts need to tell your Representatives to compromise. They can cut spending in the next budget, which is due anytime now.

    July 23, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Four and The Door

    Speaker Boehner is proving to be an excellent advocate for the American taxpayer, the unemployed and the hundreds of millions of the next generation of Americans who right now is being forced to pay our bills.

    July 23, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    We are in real mess time for republicans to work with president

    We build millions of homes in early 2000 push into the market (sorry to say it was fake economy growth)
    We went to two wars with tax breaks (it was stupid thing we did)

    Past is past it’s over look for future
    To recover there are many solution on the table many of them against tea party policy but republicans agreed on

    Now the question is republicans want to build the country back or they want tea baggers vote to stay on the power

    July 23, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    $4.4 Trillion of the deficit is from the 2 wars. There was no tax or any other sacrifice to pay for them - NOW we haveto pay what we borrowed so we could get rid of Saddam and re-build Afghanistan (which has never been built to start with).

    End the wars, pay our bills, and get this country back on track by bringing our military AND OUR JOBS home. (The military personnel will be unemployed, since the "job creators" are not creating jobs).

    July 23, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Clwyd

    Cantor has walked out (stubborn brat), Boehner has walked out (spoiled brat) and who will be next McConnel I presume (old brat)

    July 23, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. labman57

    Congressional Republicans insist that they want to compromise on the federal debt issues.

    Unfortunately, the Republican concept of compromise - a key component of any meaningful negotiation - is for the opposition to discard their own beliefs and completely embrace the conservative point of view.

    In short, their notion of negotiation involves capitulation by the opposition­.

    The GOP made a huge gamble by embracing the often naive, frequently irrational, usually hyperbolic rhetoric of the tea party movement. The party leadership stands at a political precipice, contemplating whether to back away slowly, oblivious of the mindless tea party stampede heading straight toward them that will send the entire party over the cliff.

    July 23, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. Jilli

    Adults compromise, children take their ball and go home. It's obvious that Mr. Boehner is failing at his job as a "leader". He's unable to corrall his crazies and do what is right and necessary for this country. I have no sympathy – the republican party brought this on themselves – winning above everything. Nice job.

    July 23, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. ingrid

    I agree with Bill from GA.

    July 23, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. B

    How many times do we have to hear him call for leaders "To work together"

    The Republican leadership should be impeached for carrying this situation to the brink.

    Outrageous behavior!

    July 23, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. GonzoinHouston

    Dr. Frankenstein's monster has broken out of the laboratory! The GOP nurtured the Tea Party in the early days, and the money men and many organizers behind it are all current or former republican politicians or supporters. They developed the TP's as shock troops, and now they're out of control. The TP's are why we are at the current impasse, and hopefully the voters are taking notes. Compromise, not fanaticism, is the heart of democracy.

    July 23, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. maikl

    Senator Obama was all against up debt , but now he for it. Read his statement 5 years ago and see this man not trusty at all. Sorry ,America, I vote for Obama in2008. Reason, he was historical man and nothing else. No more experiment w/out experiences.

    July 23, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. once upon a horse

    the "adult in the room" concept just isn't working for the president. Although he appears to have most Americans on his side with this deal, he's only polling a 45% approval rating way down from the 60% he had when OBL was killed. There is a serious misconnect here somewhere. Either people who don't like the president but agree with what he's trying to do, but don't want to admit it. I know the GOP is polling way lower at 28% but that's because the Tea Party is dragging them down and people now realize who the GOP is really being controlled by and where their interest lies.

    July 23, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. BILL, WI

    What happened to the Dems promise of open government and transparency? The closed meetings should be opened to the public, either have the press in the room or have the US Congress record the discussion for future release. That will probably end a lot of the propagandized sound bites we have been hearing for the last 6 months. The current situation was decades in the making, but our short sighted politicians want to address the problem when the deadline is within a few months.

    July 23, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. Aaron

    Work together means that he wants Dems to give in on entitlement cut and not raise taxes on the rich, while Repubs sacrifice nothing.

    July 23, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. Sgt Schultz

    Yes but Boss Obama – please don't let these ideologues sell us out by reducing our Entitlement benefits. Just remember the Republicans have ALWAYS been opposed to Social Security and Health programs that the overwhelming majority of Americans desperately need. Maybe raise the eligibility age by ONE year or if you do two years max then do it gradually.

    It's time for a come to Jesus moment between the 2 parties and just finally realize that War of Drugs and Terror are impossible to "win" with no tangible objectives...cut that spending. You can not defeat a thought, mental disease, or religious ideology with Military force or by going broke building more and more jails. We have the highest % of our population locked-up in prison the entire world...it's not working just admit it.

    July 23, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Myron8160

    The reason they playing with the debt is make obama a one term pezsdent

    July 23, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. Ron

    If the Teapublicans force the US into default I say it's treason, financial treason. The ramifications of such a thing are beyond imagination yet they deny, deny, deny it all for their ideological agenda. I'm ashamed to be an American.

    July 23, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. Albo58

    @ Bill from GA: there are o/a 14 trillion reasons we don't want to "delay spending cuts until the next budget"! Furthermore, it is pure Dimwit propaganda to remotely suggest that the low income Americans would actually pay ANY taxes because they don't pay anything now! Perhaps you need to tell your Dimwit representative that "wealth redistribution" is nothing more than theft!

    July 23, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. Hammerer

    Obama admits that he said he wanted $400 billion more in tax increase, but that was up to Boehner to agree to.
    Yeah right!
    Trust is the most important part of negotiation and sounds like Obama has been less that honest.

    July 23, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. Chris

    Republicans need the economy to suck really bad to win the 2012 elections. They will tank the world's economy to fulfill their agenda. Of course they are pushed by the Tea Party from behind, although the Tea Party is not a political party, but a movement. Much like a bowel movement...

    July 23, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Sank

    How can they work together when he works with no one and inputs nothing except something destructive to the U.S.

    July 23, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. Angus001

    Why doesn't he call on himself to work with others on this. All politician, no leadership.

    July 23, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. mj

    I have never seen a President act so "un-presidential" in all my many years. Obama has no plan. He has submitted nothing to either Party. Obama has escalated our debt out of control. Believe and blame whom ever you want. He, alone, has added trillions to our debt and wants to add more. Somebody has got to say, "No More". The 2% of the population, that are considered "rich", will not come even close to paying this off – even if taxed at more than 100%. He has had many "Fund Raisers" and do you believe Joe the Plumber was asked to come? Not many can afford 5-10 Thousand for a "plate". Obama has no problem taking the money from Union Leaders, Bill Gates, Oprah, and Corporate Executives. He will not bite the hand that feeds him.

    July 23, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. 111karlquick111

    Suggestion.... How about you make an offer Mr PRESIDENT. You keep pretending to negotiate but we see nothing on paper. Have you never bought or sold a house? There reasons why there are such things as "written offer" and "counter offer". People quickly decide you're not serious if no offer or counter offer is ever written down. Window shopping, looking for an easy bargain ... THAT is what you are doing! Grow up and put your cards on the table where everyone can see them!

    July 23, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Rob

    Why is it that only the Republicans and Tea Partiers in the House represent the American Public, according to them? Why don't they believe that the Senate represents the American public? Didn't the same American Public vote for the Senators? What about the President of the United States? Didn't that same American Public vote overwhelmingly for him over their candidate? So it seems to me that they represent just a portion of the American public. The polls all suggest the American public want a balanced approach to this issue with compromise: increased taxes on the wealthy, closing of tax loopholes, tax reform, entitlement reform, and spending cuts - not only spending cuts as these childish Republicans are demanding. I hope the Senate and President stand firm even if the House pushes the economy temporarily over the cliff and shows them what they have done.

    July 23, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |