Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said on Monday that reports of the death of President Barack Obama’s $4 trillion deficit “big deal” to raise the debt ceiling have been greatly exaggerated, despite House Speaker John Boehner withdrawing his support for it.
“It’s never dead in Washington, you know that,” Hutchison said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I do think, though, that we’re now at a crossroads and weve got to come up with either Plan A or B or C or D.”
The Texas Republican, who is not seeking re-election, also said Congress and the White House have until “mid-August” to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, well after the Aug. 2 date Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has long said will be the point of default.
Hutchison was just one of several members of Congress from both parties and both houses to appear on morning television Monday ahead of yet another Obama press conference on the debt crisis and planned negotiating meeting with congressional leaders of both parties on Monday afternoon.
Top Democrats took to the TV shows to assure people — especially those with control over the financial markets — that a deal will get done, and preemptively blame Republicans should it fail. Two of the top three Senate Demcorats — Dick Durbin of Illinois and Chuck Schumer of New York — each said only a long-term deal will stabilize the markets.
“I am worried about this idea that we can lurch from week to week and month to month,” Durbin said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “We cannot be lurching from six-month deal to six-month deal to try to get this done.”
And Schumer, on “Morning Joe,” predicted a debt deal will be complete before Yankees star Alex Rodriguez returns to play from a knee surgery.
“We will have a compromise … before A-Rod is back to play, that’s three to six weeks,” Schumer said.
Schumer, who reaffirmed the Aug. 2 deadline, said no deal can be reached without Democratic votes in the House and said pressure will begin to mount on Republicans to back a compromise.
“You’re not going to get Democratic votes for a plan that doesn’t solve the problem, just does cuts, doesn’t do any revenues at all,” he said. “Because so many Republicans have said they don’t want to raise the debt ceiling, so many others have said were only going to raise the debt ceiling if A, B, C and D … the pressure is going to fall much greater on them than us.”
And Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said on NBC’s “Today” show refused to say if a deal can be reached in the next 10 days.
“It’s been frustrating,” he said. “The president has been talking about this for six months, he agreed six months ago that we couldn’t raise taxes on the down economy. Now suddenly he says in order to have any cuts, we’re going to have to raise taxes. And he still has not given us a proposal that we can accept or reject.”
DeMint also, like Hutchison, rejected Aug. 2 as a hard deadline. “We’ve got enough tax revenue to pay our bills… It’s not ideal but we don’t need to panic and rush into a deal,” he added.
“And the president is actually been burning the clock with these secret negotiations, pushing us up against a deadline so he can create this panic. We need to keep calm and if the president will work with us on some reasonable cuts, we’ll work with him on giving him an increase on the debt limit. But now is not the time to panic and do something else that’s going to make our economy worse and cost us more jobs.”
From the House, Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said on CNN ripped into the GOP for moving to the right in the debt talks.
“That is not acting like an adult, that is partisan game playing and the American economy cannot afford partisan game playing,” he said. “We will not negotiate the end of Medicare particularly when the Republicans want to end it in order to fund more corporate tax loopholes and more subsidies to big oil companies.”
But Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a member of House Ways and Means Committee and the Tea Party Caucus, told CNN he opposes any new tax increases as part of the deal.
“No tax increase has ever created a job,” he said. “And ultimately this is about job creation. And so we’ve got to do short-term things, decrease spending in the short-term. Mid-term things, spending cap so the government doesn’t continue to increase its size. And hopefully long-term fundamental reform, which for many of us means a balanced budget amendment.”
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