President Obama chastised Republicans Friday after House Speaker John Boehner walked away from debt negotiations with the White House, accusing the GOP of blocking an “extraordinarily fair deal” to slash spending and raise the debt ceiling.
“It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal,” Obama said during an evening press conference at the White House, arguing that Republicans were not willing to take on their so-called “sacred cows.”
Boehner countered that increased tax demands from the White House forced his hand.
Obama said the deal under discussion called more than $1 trillion in cuts to discretionary spending, $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs and in the area of most contention — $1.2 trillion in tax increases.
The president called on congressional leaders to come to the White House at 11 a.m. on Saturday to further hash out a deal.
“We have now run out of time,” he said, admitting that he was more confident about the prospects of raising the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling than passing long-term spending reductions.
Once again, Obama sought to label Republicans as obstructionists unwilling to compromise on taxes to avert economic catastrophe.
“I’ve been left at the altar now a couple of times,” he said. “One of the questions the Republican Party is going to have to ask themselves is whether they can they say yes to anything.”
Lawmakers have just slightly more than a week to raise the debt ceiling before the Aug. 2 deadline. Although he said there were better options, Obama embraced a plan proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that would give him the authority to raise the debt limit without necessitating spending cuts.
Such a plan, however, has been widely dismissed by the conservative base of the Republican Party.