White House Prepared to Back Revenue-Free Debt Ceiling Plan
It's no secret that during the relentless to and fro over raising the nation's debt ceiling the Obama White House has stuck to a key principle; those making the most money must pay their fair share. In fact, the president re-stated his adherence to that principle in Monday night's address to the nation.
"Most Americans, regardless of political party, don't understand how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her Medicare before we ask corporate jet owners and oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don't get," the president said.
Yet in those same remarks, the president threw his support behind a Senate bill which contains no provisions for revenue.
Faced with a competing House Republican bill, the president weighed in on the alternative, "The Senate has introduced a plan to avoid default, which makes a down payment on deficit reduction and ensures that we don't have to go through this again in six months. I think that's a much better approach, although serious deficit reduction would still require us to tackle the tough challenges of entitlement and tax reform," he said.
The president's backing of what could be deemed a back-up plan comes after the breakdown of direct talks between the White House and bipartisan Congressional leaders.
Now that the ball has moved back to the Hill, the White House seems to be planning for the lesser of two evils.
OMB Director Jack Lew tells Fox News that the White House still believes that "we can't solve the problem all on the spending side" but that avoiding a U.S. credit default is priority number one. "I think Senator Reid in that case, has put something together something that frankly appears designed to be acceptable to the House because it doesn't raise that issue," he said.
"Senator Reid would also like a plan that has more revenue. He's said that repeatedly, " White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told Fox News Radio Tuesday. "But what he has tried to do is put together a compromise plan that has significant spending cuts which Republicans and Democrats agree we need to do, but is designed to pass both bodies-- a Democratic Senate and a Republican House-- and the President thinks that is a good approach to solving this problem," Pfeiffer said.
But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney admitted Tuesday that the Reid proposal would not solve the the deficit problem over the long-term.
That, it seems, will be put off to another day, as will the president's perpetual call for tax increases on the wealthy.
At this point, the White House seems resigned to take what they can get.
Carney told reporters at his briefing, "We will deal with entitlement reform and tax reform in the future as soon as possible if that is the way that this comes out as long as these other issues are dealt with."