Obama tells House Dems he wants 'big deal' on debt
February 7th, 2013
02:20 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama tells House Dems he wants 'big deal' on debt

(CNN) – President Barack Obama, speaking Thursday to House members from his own party at a retreat outside Washington, said he remains committed to achieving a "big deal" on budgets and debt that would end Washington's penchant for "governance by crisis."

"I am prepared, eager and anxious to do a big deal, a big package that ends this governance by crisis where every two weeks or every two months or every six months we are threatening this hard won recovery," Obama told House Democrats.

Earlier this week Obama pressed Congress to pass an agreement putting off the across-the-board spending cuts that will automatically go into effect next month, saying that while a longer term solution was preferable, a short-term fix was necessary to prevent jobs losses and an economic slowdown.

He continued that call to House Democrats Thursday, soliciting their help in developing the kind of solution that lasts longer than a few months so that the country's fragile economic recovery can continue.

"Finally housing is starting to pick up and commercial real estate is starting to do better and the unemployment numbers are still too high but we are seeing some job growth," Obama said. "Businesses are investing and manufacturing is doing well and we continue to have these self-inflicted crises here in Washington that suddenly leads everybody to tap the brakes."

Any deal brokered with Republicans must be balanced, Obama said, making the familiar Democratic argument that deficit reduction cannot be achieved "on the backs of seniors,
it shouldn't just be on the backs of young people who are trying to get a college education, it should not just be on the backs of parents who are trying to give their kids a better start in life."

Obama's speech to House Democrats at their three-day retreat comes the day after he spoke to Democratic senators, who he'll also need to help shepherd major pieces of legislation during his second term. Aside from a large budget deal, Obama has vowed to make comprehensive immigration reform and gun control measures top priorities during his second term.

In his remarks Thursday, Obama told lawmakers that those issues and more would be included in next week's State of the Union address. Also included in Tuesday's speech will be a call for "an energy agenda that can make us less dependent on foreign oil," Obama said, echoing a vow made during his inauguration address to tackle climate change over the next four years.

The president said the issues he touches upon during his big annual address would all be viewed through the prism of fairness.

"We'll talk about that stuff, but all from the perspective of how are we making sure that somebody who works hard in this country, a cop or a teacher or a construction worker or a receptionist, that they can make it if they work hard and that their kids can make it and dream even bigger dreams than they have achieved?" Obama said.

The president's two speeches to Congressional Democrats come ahead of a busy legislative schedule that will pit the White House and Democrats against Republicans, who control the House of Representatives. In the past, deals brokered between the White House and the House GOP have left some Democrats disappointed, including deals averting a government shut down in 2011.

That dynamic could emerge again in 2013 on issues like gun control and immigration, where Democrats and Republicans hold opposing viewpoints, and where potential compromises could leave some liberal Democrats disappointed.

Mindful of those past disappointments, and conceding there would be times in the future "where you guys are mad at me," Obama changed the format of Thursday's event to allow for questions from the Democratic lawmakers, though journalists were not permitted to remain in the room for that portion of his event.

But during his remarks, Obama encouraged House Democrats Thursday to look beyond the day-to-day and remember what their goals were going into politics.

"As long as we keep in mind why we came here in the first place, as long as we think back to whatever inspired each of us to say maybe I can give something back … I have no doubt that we will continue the extraordinary progress that we've made already."

Filed under: House Democrats • President Obama
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Disgusted

    He wants a "big deal" as long as it doesn't include any cuts to his spending. At least according to the media.

    February 7, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Obama needs to spell out what he wants as a starting point and say that he wants and needs to talk to the Republicans about where they want to start from. They should hopefully meet in the middle some place.

    February 7, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "It is indicative of your general lack of knowledge. If you want to push the point, were no AC-130 gusnhips on standby in theater? The two SEALs who were killed had a laser designator and were illuminating the mortar team that was causing most of the damage. The same mortar team that ultimately was responsible for the death of the two SEALs."

    Nonsense. The point still stands. The idea that we could've scrambled fighter jets to somehow respond to Benghazi was absolute nonsense and not knowing the difference between an F-14 or F-16 or F-18 or whatever changes nothing about that point. I do know what an AC-130 is and that changes nothing either. If it wasn't there, wasn't available or wasn't able to be deployed fast enough to respond IN TIME, then that's just the facts and opining about hypothetical "what ifs" and "should have beens" changes nothing about the point I made, nor the reality that Panetta was speaking. What's really going on is that people like yourself are desperately searching for some way to spin the entire thing into some sort fo failure. The goal posts have been moved several times now...first it's one theory about who and what failed, then it's another when the first one gets disproven, etc. The failure is with your insistence that you get to keep inventing new theories about how to blame Clinton ro Obama or DoD or whoever that it is everyone else's job to disprove and, if they don't, you somehow get to claim you finally figured out what went wrong and who to blame. That's backwards. Logical, rational thought and analysis moves from fact to theory, not theory to "prove me wrong."

    February 7, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. Bill from GA

    Thanks, Mr. President for getting back to the BIGGEST issue facing this Great Nation.

    February 7, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. Bill from GA

    Since it seems to be OK to carry on arguments from previous posts

    freedom mentions " the policies and interrogation techniques under the Bush admin."..." Obama ironically demonizes the policies"

    The Geneva Convention also opposes waterboarding and other measures used by W's cronies. We (the USA) also opposed them until Bush's AG announced they were now OK. And there is no agreement that such measures DID lead to bin Laden's capture.

    And you ignore the statement made by Bush that he wasn't interested in Bin Laden. Do you not believe Bush's own words?

    February 7, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. LibParrots

    Then please Mr. President, stop taxing the crap out of my paycheck to waste on your liberal agenda. Create some jobs while you're at it: keystone pipeline not keystone epa cops.

    February 7, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Ray E. (Georgia)

    With "Obama Care" as well as Taxing the "Rich" is hanging over our heads no "Big" deal is possible. Return all Social Programs back to the States where each state can decide what they want to do with it.

    February 7, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. Bryan

    The sequester was the idea of the White House, Jack Lew in particular. If it is the only way that spending will be reduced, I'd say that it is what needs to happen. We have to quit saddling our kids future. I work for the government, and will probably get a pay cut. But we have to start somewhere. Taxes were increased already, so forgot that option now.

    February 7, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Borderless

    Maybe if he didn't spend money assassinating Americans abroad or keeping open America's prison camp (Gitmo) open.

    February 7, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "Obama tells House Dems he wants 'big deal' on debt"

    And the GOP/Teatrolls tell Obama they want a big crisis on the budget and debt.

    See how that works?

    February 7, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Tom

    That's nice, but the Republicans will never agree to any proposal Obama supports. "Governance by crisis" is just another name for Republican obstructionism. There is no crisis, just an endless series of roadblocks thrown down by Republicans to prevent Obama/Democrats from accomplishing anything. Republicans didn't object to a deficit and foreign debt when George W. Bush was in office. Now they can't talk about anything else.

    February 7, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |