Just yesterday, reports indicated that a deal between President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner was imminent. They just had to work out some details, sell it to their respective caucuses, and call it a day. Well, those details were apparently too tough to work out. At 6 p.m. tonight, Speaker of the House John Boehner sent a letter to his fellow House Republicans, announcing that he was walking away from talks with Obama altogether. He claimed that talks broke down because Obama insisted on including tax revenues and “is adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs.”
Minutes later, Obama addressed reporters in the White House, telling them that Boehner had turned down an “extraordinarily fair deal,” one that offered more spending cuts than the bipartisan Gang of Six. “It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal,” he said. “And frankly, if you look at the commentary out there, there are a lot of Republicans out there that are puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done.”
Regardless of how fair and balanced Obama considered the plan, Boehner apparently didn’t think it could pass the House, where any kind of tax increase is a non-starter. So where does that leave us? Boehner, convinced that he and Obama won’t be able to agree, says in his letter than he’ll “begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a path forward.” Nevertheless, Obama has called for congressional leaders to meet with him at the White House tomorrow morning, where he expects them to “have an answer in terms of how they intend to get this thing done in the course of the next week.”
Yes, answers would be nice. Answers would be soothing. Right now, all we have is a horrible feeling that our broken political system might drive our economy off a cliff.
House Speaker Pulls Out of Talks to Raise Debt Ceiling [NYT]
Boehner pulls out of White House debt talks [MSNBC]