By Sara Wyant
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, July 12 - The top two Republicans in Congress blasted President Barack Obama today for failing to deliver his own deficit reduction plan, just one day after the president asked congressional leaders to bring him ideas to ensure passage in both the House and Senate.
Both Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Ranking Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, are scheduled to meet with Obama and other top Democrats at 3:45 pm today.
“My message to the White House over the last several months has been real simple: the spending cuts have to be larger than the increase in the debt ceiling. Secondly, there are no tax increases on the table. And thirdly, we have to have real controls in place to make sure this never happens again. Real controls like a Balanced Budget Amendment,” emphasized Speaker John Boehner during a press conference this morning.
“House Republicans have a plan. We passed our budget back in the spring, outlined our priorities. Where is the president's plan? When's he going to lay his cards on the table? This debt limit increase is his problem and I think it's time for him to lead by putting his plan on the table - something that the Congress can pass.”
Speaking on the Senate floor today about the deficit reduction and debt limit negotiations, McConnell said he was “one of those who had long hoped we could do something big for the country. But in my view the President has presented us with three choices: smoke and mirrors, tax hikes, or default. Republicans choose none of the above.
"I had hoped to do good; but I refuse to do harm."
In a sign that the rhetoric is becoming increasingly harsh from both sides, McConnell said he has “little question that as long as this President is in the Oval Office, a real solution is unattainable.”
McConnell said the much of the debate has hinged on the question of whether or not the two parties could find a solution to our economic problems without raising taxes.
“Wrong. We could have done that without breaking a sweat,” he added. “The truth is, the Democrats saw this debate as a unique opportunity to impose the type of tax hikes they want so badly but couldn't pass even in a Democrat-controlled Senate last year. So let's not be fooled by a false choice.
“It was a debate about the kind of government we want. This was a debate between those who believe that Washington doesn't have enough money to spend, and those, like me, who believe that Washington has become too big, too expensive, and too burdensome already.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, President Obama said he has "bent over backwards" to work with Republicans on a debt reduction deal.
"I mean, if the basic proposition is "it's my way or the highway," then we're probably not going to get something done because we've got divided government."
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