President Obama stopped by the White House briefing room, offering an update on the status of the debt-ceiling process. I’ve seen some reports suggesting the president endorsed the Gang of Six’s compromise, but that’s not quite what he said, and it seems to miss the point of Obama’s comments.
In general, the president stuck to generalities, saying he’s seem “some progress” of late, and dismissing the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” charade out of hand.
Specifically on the Gang of Six, however, Obama said their apparent agreement is “broadly consistent” with the approach he’s pushed, and praised it for touching all the bases — it cuts spending while increasing revenues, as part of a larger, significant debt-reduction package. He added that he’d still need more details before evaluating it fully, but added, “I think that we’re on the same playing field. “
This, however, is what struck me as key:
“So here’s where we stand. We have a Democratic President and administration that is prepared to sign a tough package that includes both spending cuts, modifications to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare that would strengthen those systems and allow them to move forward, and would include a revenue component. We now have a bipartisan group of senators who agree with that balanced approach. And we’ve got the American people who agree with that balanced approach.”
The president wasn’t speaking from prepared remarks, so it’s possible this came together by accident, but it sounded to me like Obama was intentionally boxing in House Republicans. The point wasn’t to endorse the Gang of Six, per se, so much as to use the Gang of Six to make a larger point: the White House wants a balanced approach, a bipartisan group in the Senate wants a balanced approach, and the American mainstream wants a balanced approach. Now all we need is for the House majority to wake up and smell reality.
That, of course, won’t happen, but the point is to place the burden where it belongs — on those who are being irresponsible.
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