After a truncated July 4th recess, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell again extended his invitation to President Obama to discuss the debt limit with congressional leaders, an offer the president accepted.
“Our view is the way you solve a debt crisis is to go on a diet, not a shopping spree,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
“My goal, as I said on Thursday, was to get together and talk about what’s actually possible,” he said. “The Obama administration said it wasn’t a conversation worth having. Republicans believe that finding a way to reduce the deficit and put Medicare on more secure footing is a conversation worth having.”
“So today I’d like to re-extend the offer,” McConnell continued. “I think the best way to solve this impasse is for the President to hear what needs to be done, and how we can do it — hear what can actually pass here in Congress.”
UPDATE: On Tuesday afternoon, President Obama announced at a press briefing that he will meet with congressional leaders from both parties on Thursday to discuss a deal on the debt ceiling.
McConnell spokesperson Don Stewart confirmed in an email to TheDC that the president invited McConnell “a few minutes” before taking the podium in the briefing room.
“I think the best way to solve this impasse is for the President to hear what needs to be done, and how we can do it — hear what can actually pass here in Congress,” said McConnell in a statement after the meeting was announced.
“He needs to understand the principle at stake here from our point of view,” he said. “It’s not about rich and poor. It’s not about an election. It’s about making Washington take the hit for a change. It’s about having Washington make some tough choices for a change.”
Obama also dismissed the idea of agreeing to a short-term deal. “I don’t share that view,” he said.
Last Thursday, after the president blasted a slow-moving Congress in a press conference, McConnell invited the president to Capitol Hill to discuss the budget negotiations, an invitation White House Press Secretary Jay Carney initially dismissed.
Over the weekend, the White House floated the idea that Democrats would agree to cuts in Medicare and Medicaid if Republicans would be willing to agree to revenue increases and closing tax loopholes, but House Republicans continue to firmly reject tax increases in a possible deal.
Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, House Republican Policy Committee Chairman, released a statement Tuesday saying firmly that “we will not entertain the idea of raising taxes as part of a debt ceiling package.”
Price also accused Democrats of wanting to take money “out of the pockets of hard-working Americans” in order to spend our way out of the budget crisis, and thereby “perpetuate the spending binge” that first created the deficit.
“Rather than working with House Republicans on reforms that address the drivers of our debt, Democrats would rather play politics and punish job creators,” Price said.
Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, told The Daily Caller fixing the country’s budget woes can be done without tax increases. (Ron Paul calls for end of TSA)
“The Speaker has often said this is our best opportunity to get our economy back on track by making the spending reductions and structural reforms necessary to address our nation’s out-of-control debt,” Steel said. “And we can do so without raising taxes on America’s small business job creators.”
“The Speaker believes our nation’s long-term future requires the president to provide the serious leadership needed to address this challenge,” he continued.
Watch Durbin, Corker on debt ceiling deadlock in Senate: