Obama Open to a ‘Big Deal’ on Budget with Congress, but Wants Revenues

NEW YORK | Thursday, February 7th, 2013 9:19pm EDT

President Barack Obama told Congress on Thursday he hopes to agree to a “big deal” on spending cuts and tax reforms on the condition that new revenues be part of the package.

Obama Open to a Big Deal on Budget with Congress 01

President Obama told House Democrats that the foundation of his second-term agenda will be creating an economy that works for all Americans. Photo: The White House/Flickr

Barack Obama announced today that he’s ready to cut a “big deal” with Republicans to determine the period uncertainty over the economy.

“I’m prepared, eager and anxious to do a big deal, a big package that ends this government by crisis,” Mr. Obama told the Democratic lawmakers at their retreat in Lansdowne, Va.

“We are threatening this hard-won recovery where finally housing’s starting to pick up,” said the re-elected president. “We continue to have these self-inflicted crises in Washington that suddenly lead everybody to tap the brakes…”

He went on, adding: “I want to do something big to provide steadiness and certainty for the economy, a balanced package that will reduce our long-term deficit and debt but still allows us to invest in those things we need right now.”

In the next few weeks, Congress will have to address a series of potential fiscal “crises”.

By March 1, it must decide whether to decide what to do with the so-called spending cuts, which slash $1.2 trillion from defense and non-defense government spending, explains CBS News.

Congress will also have to raise the debt limit and to pass a bill to continue funding federal government operations. Besides, lawmakers are to create a “comprehensive” plan for deficit and debt reduction.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, told reporters that the president has no credibility on the issue of serious government reform, in part because “his entire campaign was about raising taxes on millionaires.” He said he’s “not at all encouraged” Washington lawmakers will reach an agreement over the looming sequester cuts.

“For a year and a half, they’ve talked and finger-pointed and in large measure I blame the president,” McDonnell said. “The president has failed to get directly involved and lead and put anything realistic on the table in spending cuts and entitlement reforms.”

Foreseeing such reaction from Republicans, Mr Obama urged his fellow Democrats “to feel confident and bold about the values we care about and what we stand for.” At the same time, he also warned them “not to read too much” into their 2012 victories.

The nation “is big, it is diverse, it is contentious, and we don’t have a monopoly on wisdom,” he said.

The president explained that his decision-making over his second term will be guided by the idea that “our economy succeeds and our economy grows when everybody’s getting a fair shot and everybody’s getting a fair shake.”

“I believe that is a growth agenda — not just an equity agenda, not just a fairness agenda,” he said.

“It means that we’re going to talk about, yes, deficits and taxes and sequesters and potential government shutdowns and debt ceilings — we’ll talk about that stuff,” Mr Obama said obviously referring to his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

“But all from the perspective of how do we make sure that somebody that works hard in this country… that they can make it.”

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