Debt Ceiling Talks Continue With Obama on Sidelines

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) told his caucus Sunday night that they will have to make some sacrifices on the debt ceiling, but if they stick together, their bargaining position will be improved.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told budget negotiators that they need to have a plan in place by 4 p.m. Sunday, the time that trading markets open in Asia, to avoid impacting global markets. That deadline passed without a deal in place.

Boehner held a conference call with Republican House members around 5 p.m. on Sunday. A new plan to raise the debt ceiling was presented to his caucus, the details of which will be announced sometime Monday, possibly after a scheduled 2 p.m. meeting of House Republicans.

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Earlier in the day, Boehner was on "Fox News Sunday" and said, “I'm going to continue to work with my congressional colleagues in both parties and my House Republican conference to try and develop a framework within the Cut, Cap and Balance effort that the House passed this week. I do believe that such a framework could come together. It is not in place as we sit here.”

The plan will apparently include a temporary debt ceiling increase that would ensure that the debt ceiling debate will be played out again before the 2012 elections. President Obama has said that he would veto a temporary debt ceiling increase. Republicans are calculating that, since Obama has said there would be dire consequences if the debt ceiling is not raised, he would have no choice but to sign whatever bill comes to him.

Boehner made it clear on "Fox News Sunday," however, that there would first be a small debt limit increase, then another one in 2012. “There is going to be a two stage process. It is not physically possible to do all of this in one step,” Boehner said.

On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) was also asked about Obama's veto threat. “I think that's a ridiculous position because I think [a small increase is] what he's going to get presented with,” Coburn said.

Boehner assured his Republican colleagues that there would be no more private meetings with the White House. Instead, Boehner is focused on working with his fellow congressional leaders, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Boehner also reminded them that they need to pass something that can pass the Democratic controlled Senate.

“But it’s gonna require us to stand together as a team. It’s gonna require some of you to make some sacrifices. If we stand together as a team, our leverage is maximized, and they have to deal with us. If we’re divided, our leverage gets minimized,” Boehner told them, according to Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post.

Besides the fact that there are not enough votes to get a debt limit increase large enough to last until 2013, Republicans may be looking forward to having another debt limit debate on the eve of the 2012 elections. On "Fox News Sunday," Boehner accused Obama of wanting a large debt limit increase for the benefit of his own reelection chances.

“I know the president is worried about his next election, but my God, shouldn't we be worried about the country. We've got a budget deficit of $1.5 trillion, borrowing 42 cents on every dollar we spend, we have a 14 and a half trillion dollar nation debt, it's time to get serious about stopping the spending here in Washington, D.C.,” Boehner said.

During the conference call, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made a similar point, according to Rubin: “You see the battle the speaker is in. The president is throwing a fit because he’s worried about the election. He doesn’t want cuts, he wants increases. He lost his cool the other night because he knows he won’t get what he wants if we remain united.”

At one point during the "Fox News Sunday interview," Boehner became visibly angry as he criticized Obama for not presenting his own plan for dealing with the national debt crisis.

“The House has done its work. We've passed a budget, we passed a plan, we passed Cut, Cap, and Balance. And not one time in this whole process has Senate Democrats or the White House passed a budget, put a budget out there, or even put a plan out there. The conversations I was having with the President, in case the Senate didn't pass Cut, Cap and Balance, there was never any plan from the White House. The whole plan came from us, we laid out the framework, and at some point they've got to lay their cards on the table,” he said.

Reid and Pelosi met with Obama at the White House at 6 p.m. on Sunday. No Republicans were present. They resolved at that meeting to not accept a short-term, two-stage, deal.

As markets opened in Asia Sunday night, the value of the dollar fell and the price of gold went up over concerns that a deal to raise the debt ceiling would not be reached.

The national debt is currently over $14.5 trillion with almost $115 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

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