As President Barack Obama issued a withering rebuke to Congressional leaders for failing to hammer out a deal on the debt ceiling, Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill both contended Wednesday that compromise legislation cannot get to the president’s desk without substantial concessions from the other side.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said that House Speaker John Boehner “needs Democrats” to pass a budget deal through the Senate, noting that there are a number of conservative Republicans who will not vote for increasing the debt ceiling no matter how much is cut.
And Republican leaders reiterated that a deal that includes tax increases won't pass muster with the GOP.
“Their answer is to increase taxes for everything,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said of his Democratic colleagues.
“We think it’s pretty clear,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “regardless of what we’re able to negotiate here in the short term, that we should put the federal government in this kind of fiscal straight jacket.”
Obama slammed congressional leaders during a lengthy press conference earlier Tuesday. "Call me naive, but my expectation is that leaders are going to lead," he told reporters.
The two sides have agreed to cut about $1 trillion to $1.2 trillion, but haven't made any further progress in the week since formal negotiations broke down. They need to get to $2 trillion to $2.5 trillion to get through the 2012 elections. The smaller figure would last about seven months.
Knowing that math, a Senate Democratic leadership aide said it was "probable" that something in the neighborhood of a seven-month deal is what will ultimately get voted on and agreed to before the Aug. 2 deadline. Then, the two sides could begin negotiations on reforming the tax code, in order to avoid doing this all over again in March of next year.