Obama, Boehner Each Claim High Ground On Debt Ceiling As Parties Dispute Entitlement Reform
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner each delivered prime time addresses, capping an extraordinary day of partisan dueling on the debt ceiling. With the clock ticking toward the Aug. 2 deadline, details of the two very different plans emerged. Significant savings in the House GOP plan would be squeezed for government entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid, while the Senate Democrats' approach would leave Medicare unchanged.
CBS News: "With just eight days left before a possible economic catastrophe, President Obama on Monday took his argument for a 'balanced' debt limit agreement to the American people, arguing in a prime time address that voters should call their Representatives in support of a deal that 'asks everyone to give a little without requiring anyone to sacrifice too much'" (Madison and Montopoli, 7/25).
USA Today: "House Speaker John Boehner -- who is promoting an alternative debt plan with no tax increases -- said in a responding speech that Obama's definition of balance means 'we spend more and you pay more'" (Jackson, 7/25).
NPR: "President Obama says the path to deficit reduction, should be balanced and it should include sacrifices from those in highest income brackets: 'Most Americans, regardless of political party, don't understand how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her Medicare before we ask corporate jet owners and oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don't get'" (Peralta, 7/25).
The New York Times: "House Republican leaders pushed for a vote Wednesday on a two-step plan that would allow the federal debt limit to immediately be raised by about $1 trillion and tie a second increase next year to the ability of a new joint Congressional committee to produce more deficit reduction" (Hulse, Steinhauer and Calmes, 7/25).
Politico: "The first debt limit increase of between $900 billion to $1 trillion would be accompanied by strict discretionary spending caps designed to achieve 10 year savings of $1.2 trillion from annual appropriations bills. The second installment of up to $1.6 trillion would be contingent on first achieving $1.8 trillion more in savings largely from government benefit programs and entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid" (Rogers, 7/25).
CNN: "The House Republican plan also sets up a 12 member bipartisan 'joint committee for deficit reduction' which would be given broad authority and instructed to come up with $1.6 to $1.8 trillion in additional savings. ... The committee could include entitlement reforms, tax reforms, and further discretionary spending cuts to reach its deficit reduction target" (Walsh, 7/25).
The Wall Street Journal: This panel "would be given a broad mandate, but would probably focus on large entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as well as overhauling the tax code" (Boles and Bendavid, 7/25).
MarketWatch: "Saying the U.S. is 'about to go over the cliff,' Senate Democratic Leader Reid unveiled a plan to cut $2.7 trillion from the deficit without changing Medicare or raising taxes" (Schroeder, 7/25).
The Washington Post: "Both [Republican and Democratic] plans call for deep cuts to federal agencies over the next decade, and neither would immediately require increased tax revenue or deep cuts to entitlement programs, such as Medicare. Reid's plan would actually cut more from the federal budget over the next decade than Boehner's but does not require a second vote to raise the debt limit next year" (Kane and Montgomery, 7/25).