The lawmakers still have a long way to go before reaching deficit and debt ceiling deals.
President Obama said that his budget talk with a bipartisan and bicameral group of congressional lawmakers was “very constructive,” but the two sides are “still far apart on a wide range of issues.” The negotiation process will continue throughout the weekend and Obama will meet with leaders again on Sunday.
“People were frank. We discussed the various options available to us,” Obama said. “Everybody reconfirmed the importance of completing our work and raising the debt-limit ceiling so that the full faith and credit of the United States of America is not impaired.”
The president also acknowledged that there’s going to be “pain involved politically on both sides.” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), for example, will not have an easy time convincing his Republican conference, particularly Tea Party freshmen, to support revenue increases, such as closing tax loopholes enjoyed by corporations and the nation’s top earners. Likewise, Obama, who recently put Social Security on the table as a bargaining chip, has some explaining to do to Democrats. Many want to learn more details, but the idea alone is unsettling.
Boehner told reporters Thursday that the only thing that’s not an option is raising taxes.
“We believe that comprehensive tax reform, both on the corporate and the personal side, will make America more competitive, help create jobs in our country, and is something that is under discussion,” he said, adding that entitlement reforms are needed to ensure that the programs exist in the future.
(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty)