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Before speech, GOP leaders cool on Obama deficit plan

From NBC's Shawna Thomas
Returning from a White House briefing in advance of the president’s remarks on the deficit this afternoon, Republican House and Senate leaders remained unreceptive to President Barack Obama’s strategy for taking on the nation’s growing debt.

"The President gave us a general outline,” said House Speaker John Boehner. “But the one area that we know we're not going to get very far on is the idea that we're going to raise taxes on the very people we expect to invest in our economies and to help create jobs.”

The leaders called the discussion "frank" and "constructive," but their sharp critiques indicated some loose interpretations of those more complimentary adjectives.

While conceding that "not meeting our debt obligations is a very bad idea," Boehner agreed with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that both chambers would oppose raising the federal debt limit without attaching robust legislation to reduce the deficit.

The leaders’ linkage of the two issues almost assures that the Democrat's desire to have a "clean” vote on the debt ceiling may be a pipe dream.  

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said that he expects the country to reach its debt limit by May 16th, but that default could be held off until July 8th. 

Asked if the president seemed open to tying other obligations to the debt ceiling vote, the speaker responded with one word, "Yes." 

"We've got to take meaningful steps towards solving our long term debt problem if in fact we're going to find the votes to increase the debt ceiling,” he added.