A visibly frustrated President Obama called Congressional leaders back to the White House Saturday for another round of debt ceiling talks after House Speaker John Boehner pulled out of talks for a “grand bargain” Friday.
In a letter sent to Republican lawmakers, Boehner said Obama’s position on revenues kept a deal from being done.
“In the end, we couldn’t connect,” Boehner wrote. “Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country. The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised. The president is adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs.”
Speaking to reporters, Obama requested Boehner as well as other Republican congressional leaders and their counterparts in the Democratic party come back to the White House Saturday at 11:00 AM.
“We have run out of time and they are going to have to explain to me how we are going to avoid default,” Obama said.
The president said his “bottom line” in any deal is that the debt ceiling increase stretch to 2013.
Obama laid out the details of the deal he last offered Boehner, which apparently was not enough to satisfy the Cut, Cap and Balance wing of the GOP.
Essentially what we had offered Speaker Boehner was “over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending,” Obama said. “Both domestic and defense.”
“We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs,” he added. “Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security.”
In return, Obama said he asked for $1.2 trillion in revenues, none of it coming from tax rate increases.
“It’s hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal,” Obama said. He asked about the Republicans: “Can they say yes to anything?”