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President Obama at BRT: fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling

Dec 5, 2012
Carter Wood

Speaking today at Business Roundtable, President Obama put the debt ceiling front and center in the continuing debate over the fiscal cliff.

"We’re not going to play that game next year,” the president said in remarks to more than a hundred CEOs meeting at BRT's offices. “If Congress in any way suggests they’re going to tie negotiations over debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once again as part of a budget negotiation, I will not play that game.”

The president reiterated his call for a "balanced approach" to resolve the fiscal cliff, the year-end tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts that, if not prevented, will throw the economy back into recession. He again pressed House Republicans to accept higher individual income tax rates on upper income brackets. He said there appeared to have been movement among the Republicans: "Maybe they can accept some rate increases along as it’s combined with serious entitlement reform. … If we can get the leadership on the Republican side to take that framework, to acknowledge that reality, then the numbers are not that far apart.”

Once there's that breakthrough, he argued, a deal could be completed in a week.

President Obama, who was introduced by BRT Chairman Jim McNerney of Boeing, also spoke in a closed-door discussion with the CEOs for more than an hour.

The CEOs heard from House Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) last evening.

C-SPAN has full video of the president's public comments, here.

News coverage (which includes GOP's perspective):

UPDATE (3:30 p.m.): With the goal of taking a balanced blogging approach, comments from Speaker John Boehner's office.

Video with House Republican leadership, "Speaker Boehner: President Obama Obligated to Offer Fiscal Cliff Plan that Can Pass Both Houses of Congress"

Statement, "Speaker Boehner Statement on the Status of Fiscal Cliff Talks":

The president’s own words confirm that the responsible proposal put forward by Republicans can be implemented in a manner that meets the president’s own standards. If our offer is not acceptable to the president, then he has an obligation to show leadership by presenting a credible plan of his own that can pass both houses of Congress. The president talks about a balanced approach, but he’s rejected spending cuts that he has supported previously and refuses to identify serious spending cuts he is willing to make today. This is preventing us from reaching an agreement. With the American economy on the brink of the fiscal cliff, we don’t have time for the President to continue shifting the goal posts. We need to solve this problem.

UPDATE (3:50 p.m.): More news coverage ...

From Bloomberg TV:

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Senior Communications Advisor
Business Roundtable

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