Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Fireside Chat for July 9th, 2011 (VIDEO)

President Obama calls on both parties to come together to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that lets us live within our means without hurting investments our economy needs to grow and create jobs.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The President's Interview with...a Seattle Local TV Station?

This was also caught by Only Adult In The Room originally, and it's taken me a while to get to it.  The best part is the opening thirty seconds, where the reporter reveals that she went to High School with Stanley Ann Dunham, and the President's reaction.

Other than that, it's the standard sit down over the Economy, the Debt Ceiling, etc.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

So how much leverage do Congressional Democrats have in the Debt Ceiling Fight?

Apparently, quite a bit, according to Jonathan Bernstein, writing today at The Plum Line:

Greg asked earlier, “Do House Democrats have any leverage in the debt talks?” Barack Obama’s quick statement today to reporters made it clear that: yes, they do.

By emphasizing that “Democrats and Republicans are going to be required in both chambers,” the president inched towards defining a standard under which any grand bargain will require majorities of both parties in both Houses of Congress.

In reality, Obama was basically acknowledging the mathematics and politics of the situation. We know that at least 50 of the 240 House Republicans, and probably a good deal more, are not going to vote for a debt limit increase no matter what. That means they’ll need at least about 30 Democrats, and probably a good deal more. If a deal is going to need close to half of House Democrats, then it almost certainly needs Nancy Pelosi.

The truly goofy thing about this whole mess is the outsized influence enjoyed by those 50 or so House Republicans that won’t be voting for any deal, no matter how much it might tilt towards conservative priorities. One would think that they’ve dealt themselves out. However, they — along with their slightly less rejectionist conservative collaborators — are the key restraint on John Boehner. As Jonathan Chait notes today, what their opposition does is make some of the deals that are mathematically possible into political poison for the Speaker. He isn’t going to endorse anything that won’t get the approval (in private at least — they may not vote that way) of a strong majority of the House Republican conference, because otherwise he risks a revolt.

For House Democrats, the best strategy (no surprise here) is unity. If they can maintain that, then they have quite a bit of leverage. If not, Boehner can start trying to pick off 25 or 30 or 35 Democrats, and perhaps he can make that work. My guess, however, is that ultimately nothing will pass unless it has genuine leadership support — and not just votes — from Democrats and Republicans in both chambers. Nancy Pelosi certainly knows that, and as the President himself said today, he’s very aware that he needs Democrats to get this done.

Remember, this has always been the key thing. John Boehner places being Speaker over the fiscal health of the Country.

"[By Sunday], the parties will at least know where each other’s bottom lines are..." (VIDEO)

From the prepared remarks:

Hello, everybody. I’m going to make a very brief statement.

I just completed a meeting with all the congressional leaders from both chambers, from both parties, and I have to say that I thought it was a very constructive meeting. People were frank. We discussed the various options available to us. 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.

What we decided was that staffs, as well as leadership, will be working during the weekend, and that I will reconvene congressional leaders here on Sunday with the expectation that, at that point, the parties will at least know where each other’s bottom lines are and will hopefully be in a position to then start engaging in the hard bargaining that’s necessary to get a deal done.

I want to emphasize that nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. And the parties are still far apart on a wide range of issues. But, again, I thought that all the leaders here came in a spirit of compromise, in a spirit of wanting to solve problems on behalf of the American people. Everybody acknowledged that the issue of our debt and our deficit is something that needs to be tackled now. Everybody acknowledged that in order to do that, Democrats and Republicans are going to be required in each chamber. Everybody acknowledged that we have to get this done before the hard deadline of August 2nd to make sure that America does not default for the first time on its obligations. And everybody acknowledged that there’s going to be pain involved politically on all sides, but our biggest obligation is to make sure that we’re doing the right thing by the American people, creating an environment in which we can grow the economy and make sure that more and more people are being put back to work.

So I want to thank all the leaders. I thought it was a very constructive meeting. And I will be seeing them back here on Sunday. A lot of work will be done between now and then.

A quick summary of this morning's "Grand Bargain" news...

Okay, so it rolls down like this.

Last night and this morning, various papers, including the Washington Post, and New York Times, all went to press saying that the President is going to propose some kind of Grand Bargain on the Deficit to get the Debt Ceiling raised. Said deal would include four trillion (not two trillion) in cuts combined with one trillion in new revenues. Part of the cuts on the table would be entitlement spending from Social Security and Medicare, including the possibility of means teasting.

Again, all speculation and rumor. Actual details as to exactly what those cuts and revenues are are...frankly...sketchy.

St. John of Orange follows by saying "Yeah, we'll do the revenues, but only if we lower ALL tax rates." Which is something the President wanted to do anyway, given what he said at the State of the Union.

The White House quickly pushed back on the various stories, even though (I'm assuming) that they leaked them in the first place. (Trial balloon anyone?)

While AARP and some uber-Liberal groups are howling, you'll notice that so far...Congressional Democrats aren't (yet, at least not really). Which leads to the next theory, that this is really a stunt on the part of Democrats to appear reasonable to the public because everyone knows the GOP has shifted so far into looneyville that no deal on the deficit is possible.

And on top of everything else, the GOP is starting to sweat a little at the prospect of the President using the Constitution to ignore the Debt Ceiling Limit, because when asked in his Twitter Town Hall yesterday, the President didn't exactly rule it out.