House Speaker John Boehner has told his chamber’s Republicans they need to put some points on the scoreboard – he just hasn’t told them how many are needed to win the game.
Boehner held a closed meeting with House Republicans Friday morning and told those assembled that some form of legislation to raise the debt ceiling needs to be passed by next Wednesday.
However, Boehner informed the group no agreement has been reached with the White House. The lack of Senate involvement has become a hot-button issue with Senate Democrats.
Rumors circulated around Washington on Thursday a deal was imminent between President Obama and Boehner, but the excitement soon faded when all parties involved in the negotiations all stated no deal was on the horizon. Boehner confirmed that fact to reporters after Friday’s closed-door meeting ended.
Not all those in positions of power are excited about the discussions or what they might produce. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed his frustration by not being included in recent high-level discussions between Obama and Boehner.
“We all know…there are talks going on between President Obama and Speaker Boehner,” Reid said. “I wish them well. We await their efforts. I’m told there will be revenue measures in there. If that’s the case, we know constitutionally the matter must start in the House of Representatives.”
“I say to both the president and the speaker here on the Senate floor, representing my Democrats and I’m confident many Republicans: Be very careful, show a lot of caution as this negotiation goes forward, because any arrangement must be fair to all Americans, not just the wealthy,” Reid warned, putting Obama and Boehner on notice.
The Daily Beast, a left-leaning publication captured the sentiment among House Democrats:
“I guess they have the votes over there,” said Rep. John Larson, the Connecticut Democrat, motioning to the Republican side of the House chamber. “Whatever that is, we’re not privy to it. Stay tuned.”
According to those close to budget discussions, the deal reported to being hammered out by the President and Boehner would cut spending by $3 trillion over ten years. More importantly, the spending cuts in the “big 3” entitlement programs – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, would be implemented first while tax increases of around $1 trillion would be imposed at a later date.
President Obama took one slight shot at the Republicans reluctance to compromise, saying today’s political culture is “pushing against compromise.”
“Everybody’s demonizing the other side,” said Obama, and that “makes it pretty hard to compromise.”
Both the House and Senate will resume session next Monday.