Nearly every weekend, President Obama and a Republican deliver competing weekly addresses on an important topic of the day, and ordinarily, the rhetoric is unremarkable. But there was something in the president’s address from Saturday that caught my eye.
The bulk of Obama’s message was about the recently-passed fiscal agreement, approved by Congress and signed into law this week. But the president also looked ahead, pointing to the next Republican-created crisis on the horizon, and suggesting “a path forward.”
After noting he’s “willing to do more” to add to the $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction he’s already approved, the president argued:
“I believe we can find more places to cut spending without shortchanging things like education, job training, research and technology all which are critical to our prosperity in a 21st century economy. But spending cuts must be balanced with more reforms to our tax code. The wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations shouldn’t be able to take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans.”
This wasn’t a throw-away line. Obama probably realizes last week was his one and only bite at the apple as far as raising tax rates, but when looking for “balanced” debt-reduction deals with Congress, he also believes tax “reforms” offer ample opportunities for revenue. Indeed, though Obama didn’t mention it explicitly, Republican leaders have said the same thing.
Is this the sort of thing GOP lawmakers might consider acceptable as part of a bipartisan deal? More on that a little later this morning.
In the meantime, though, the president also continues to draw an unambiguous line in the sand when it comes to the debt ceiling: “[O]ne thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they’ve already racked up.”