White House officials today shot down reports that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are getting close to a “major budget deal” to raise the debt limit.
Moments before the daily press briefing, the New York Times ran the headline: “Boehner and Obama Nearing Budget Deal, Leaders told.” A few minutes later, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney addressed the issue head-on. “There is no deal.”
Carney added, “We are not close to a deal... The president is in discussions with all the leaders of Congress, as well as other members, and exploring the possibility of getting the biggest deal possible, which is a position he has held for a long time now."
The rumblings about a possible deal came as top White House officials were spotted on the Hill. The administration’s budget director, Jack Lew, was seen going into a Senate Democratic lunch and Rob Nabors, the White House's legislative affairs director, was spotted waiting outside of Boehner’s office. When Lew was asked if a deal was close he replied, “There are conversations going on at multiple levels... I’m not aware of a deal.”
According to multiple reports, the potential deal in discussion would be $3 trillion in deficit reduction –- which would include cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security, as well as future revenue increases by reforming the tax code.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters he was not aware of an imminent deal. “The president always talked about balance that there had to be some fairness in this," he said. “This can't be all cuts -- there has to be a balance. There has to be some revenue in the cuts. My caucus agrees with that. I hope the President sticks with that, and I'm confident he will"
Leaders on all sides seem to agree time is running out. According to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner the nation will default on its loans for the first time in History unless the debt ceiling is raised by Aug. 2. Geithner has warned a default could be economically calamitous, because the country would be unable to its bills and the value of the U.S. dollar would almost certainly decline.