President Barack Obama spoke at the beginning of Tuesday’s White House press briefing, signaling that the Gang of Six’s new debt-reduction proposal is one he could get behind.
Obama said that he and congressional leaders made some progress in talks over the weekend, but Tuesday’s proposal appears to be the first bipartisan plan to satisfy his criteria.
“I want to congratulate the Gang of Six for coming up with a plan I think is balanced,” said President Obama. “I think we’re in same playing field.”
“The good news,” said Obama, “is today a group of senators, the Gang of Six, put forward a proposal that is broadly consistent with the approach that I’ve urged.” That approach combines spending cuts with revenue increases.
The president acknowledged that the plan, which garnered significant support in the Senate Tuesday morning, not only cuts spending, but also raises revenue.
“For us to see Democrat Senators acknowledge we’ve got to deal with the long-term debt problems that arise out of our various entitlement programs, and for Republicans to [be open to increases],” said the President, “I think is a very significant step.” (Coburn offers $9 trillion deficit-reduction proposal)
“My hope, and what I will be urging Speaker Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, as well as Leader Reid and Mitch McConnell, is that they tomorrow are prepared to start talking turkey,” Obama said. He added that he wants to see Congressional leadership begin to craft a plan that would move debate over the proposal forward in time for a deal to be made by August 2.
Obama reiterated his threat to veto the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, which the House is set to vote on later Tuesday afternoon, saying that he understood the GOP caucus felt it was necessary to put the plan forward. But, Obama insisted, it was “not an approach that would pass both chambers,” and is “not an approach that I would sign.”