With a deadline just weeks away, President Obama is now rejecting calls for a short-term hike to the debt ceiling. Making a rare appearance in the briefing room yesterday, the President invited leaders from both parties and chambers to meet with him on Thursday at the White House. He challenged them to seize the moment and make a deal. He said, “It’s my hope that everybody will leave the ultimatums at the door, that we’ll all leave our political rhetoric at the door and do what’s best for our economy and do what’s best for our people.”
Less than an hour after the President’s invitation, House Speaker John Boehner dismissed the proposed discussions, saying a deal won’t pass in the House if it includes tax increases. In a statement, Boehner said in part, “I’m happy to discuss these issues at the White House, but such discussions will be fruitless until the president recognizes economic and legislative reality.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor seemed to leave some wiggle room in regards to keeping tax loopholes on the negotiating table. In a statement, his office said in part, “House Republicans aren’t objecting to this loophole or that…we oppose raising taxes on families and small businesses at a time when we all should be focused on growth and job creation.”
However, Senator John Cornyn is not leaving the door open for loopholes. Cornyn says Republicans will not agree to raising taxes even through indirect ways such as closing tax loopholes and ending certain subsidies. He said, “We’re not for raising taxes through the front door or the back door during a fragile economic recovery because we think that would make the unemployment worse, not better.”
With the budget debate still in a stalemate, Senate Democratic leaders are postponing a vote on military operations in Libya. Republicans insist that lawmakers should focus their attention on government spending and the nation’s debt limit.
Meanwhile, President Obama will face questions from Twitter users all over the country today. In the first ever “Twitter Town Hall,” the President is expected to focus on jobs and the economy. Questions for the event will be selected by Twitter.