Day before WH meeting on debt deal, Obama hints at time frame, downplays executive order

Amanda Carey Contributor

During his Twitter town hall Wednesday, President Barack Obama repeated old rhetoric about the need to raise the debt ceiling, saying that not doing so “could cause [a] whole new spiral into a second recession or worse.”

The president signaled that he’d like to see a deal come together within the next week or two.

Obama also did not rule out using an executive order to raise the debt limit. When asked about whether the 14th Amendment grants him the power to do so, he said “I don’t think we should even get to the Constitutional issue.”

“Congress has the responsibility to make sure we pay our bills,” the president said. “My expectation is that over the next week or two weeks, that Congress, working with the White House, comes up with a deal.”

Obama said the debt ceiling debate should not be “used as a gun against the heads of the American people to extract tax breaks for corporate jet owners.” Instead, the president pushed for a balanced approach that includes both spending cuts and revenue increases.

On Thursday, congressional lawmakers will meet with Obama at the White House to continue negotiating a deal. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia signaled Wednesday that he is open to the idea of closing tax loopholes if they are accompanied with spending cuts elsewhere.

According to The Hill, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, who will also be present at Thursday’s meeting, said “I’m not going to help on some draconian, do-it-my-way-or-the-highway vote.” (Obama recognizes mistakes in Twitter town hall)

“But we Democrats are prepared to cooperate in order to assure that the credit-worthiness of the United States of America is not put at risk,” Hoyer added.

Leadership offices on Capitol Hill have held their negotiating cards close to the chest. As of Wednesday afternoon, it is still unclear what Republican leaders will offer to trade for deep spending cuts.

So far, 26 representatives and 12 senators have pledged not to vote for a debt limit increases unless it comes with spending cuts, caps, and a balanced budget amendment.