Debt talks collapse, Saturday meeting planned


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By Sara Wyant

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WASHINGTON, July 22 - President Obama summoned congressional leaders to the White House for an emergency meeting Saturday morning after discussions to raise the debt limit before Aug. 2 and cut federal spending broke down Friday.

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The president said it is “absolutely true that we wanted more revenue than they had initially offered,” but that “wasn't the reason this thing broke down.”

“We were consistent in saying that it was going to be important for us to have at least enough revenue that we could protect current beneficiaries of Social Security, for example, or current beneficiaries of Medicare; that we weren't slashing Medicaid so sharply that states suddenly were going to have to throw people off the health care rolls,” Obama said in response to reporters' questions during a briefing.

“When you've got a ratio of $4 in cuts for every $1 of revenue, that's pretty hard to stomach. And we think it's important to make sure that whatever additional revenue is in there covers the amount of money that's being taken out of entitlement programs. That's only fair.”

During a press conference Friday, House Speaker John Boehner provided his version of why the talks with the White House broke down on Friday.

“The discussions we've had broke down for two reasons.  First, they insisted on raising taxes.  We had an agreement on a revenue number - a revenue number that we thought we could reach based on a flatter tax code with lower rates and a broader base that would produce more economic growth, more employees and more taxpayers, and a tax system that was more efficient in collecting the taxes that were due the federal government,” Boehner said.


“Let me just say that the White House moved the goalposts.  There was an agreement, until the President demanded $400 billion more, which was going to be nothing more than a tax increase on the American people,” Boehner explained.  “I can tell you Leader Cantor and I were very disappointed in this call for higher revenue.  Second, they refused to get serious about cutting spending, and making the tough choices that are facing our country on entitlement reform.”



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