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Obama predicts budget, debt-ceiling deal will get done
Question of the Day
Saying that a growing number of congressional Republicans realize they've been pursuing a "bad strategy" in ongoing fiscal talks, President Obama on Tuesday predicted that a deal will get done before America breaches its debt ceiling.
"What we've seen is a recognition on the part of a number of Senate Republicans that this whole strategy they pursued of trying to extract ransom for keeping the government open, or making sure America pays its bills, was a bad strategy," the president said in an interview with New York's WABC TV station. "Because we've seen movement among both Senate Republicans and, I think, a lot of people across the country, my expectation is it does get solved. But we don't have a lot of time."
The interview was one of three Mr. Obama conducted Tuesday with local TV stations, the second time in as many weeks that the commander-in-chief has taken part in a round of sit-downs with outlets from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to Des Moines.
Tuesday's interviews came not long after a bipartisan group of senators forged a deal that would've raised the nation's debt ceiling — a limit expected to be hit on Thursday — and reopened the government and funded it through Jan. 15.
But that plan has run into problems in the House.
Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, and other GOP leaders have instead been eyeing a bill that mirrored the Senate agreement but also attached two measures related to Obamacare: one that repealed one of the law's many taxes, and another that required the president and all political appointees to participate in the law's health insurance exchanges.
Other House Republicans continue to press for more spending cuts and want to soon tackle the daunting issue of entitlement reforms. Mr. Obama said he's willing to begin those discussions as soon as the immediate crisis has passed.
"If we come to the table in a spirit of compromise of the sort you're now seeing in the Senate, I am confident we will get a long-term budget deal and then we can stop governing from crisis to crisis," Mr. Obama told Des Moines' KCCI TV on Tuesday.
While searching for compromise, the president also has continued to needle House Republicans, and Mr. Boehner in particular.
In his WABC interview, Mr. Obama took several shots at the speaker, casting him as an ineffective speaker who simply lacks the political power to bring about bipartisan compromises like the one that has emerged from the Senate.
"There have been repeated situations where we have agreements, then he goes back and it turns out he can't control his caucus," Mr. Obama said. "The challenge here is, can you deliver on agreements that are made? Are you able to come up with sensible bipartisan compromises and then deliver on them?"
Mr. Obama also sat down KMEX, the Univision station in Los Angeles, on Tuesday.
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About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
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