Top White House advisors on Monday said President Barack Obama didn’t give “one inch” and expressed confidence that the compromise bill to raise the debt ceiling will pass Congress, while Sen. John McCain said the deal has “significant advantages” that should attract Republican support.
“We think at the end of the day this is an agreement that’s going to pass the Senate and the House and that the president is going to sign into law,” senior advisor David Plouffe said on NBC’s “Today.”
“The president didn’t give one inch,” Gene Sperling, the director of the National Economic Council, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “The president didn’t give one inch. the president made clear, while he was willing to compromise, he was not willing to allow anyone to hold our economy or government hostage by using the threat of default.”
Though there’s been some criticism emerging from liberal Democrats who say the president agreed to too many Republican demands in the deal by leaving out any revenue-raising measures, but Plouffe said on the CBS “Early Show” that “we’re not concerned about any of that.”
Sperling stressed that tax increases — “shared sacrifice” — could be part of the next stage of deficit reduction that will be orchestrated by the super-committee that is part of the deal.
“We were making sure the United States didn’t default for the first time, and signing a package here that we thought wouldn’t harm the economy in the short run,” Plouffe said.
McCain, meanwhile, said on CBS that he “will probably have to swallow hard” as he votes for the bill because of its potential to slash billions from the federal defense budget, but will nonetheless support it, and thinks his colleagues should do the same.
“I think the important thing for us is to go ahead and get this thing done,” he said. “it does have significant advantages, reducing the deficit more than we are raising the debt limit, no tax increases was important to us.”
McCain pointed to the plan put forward by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in mid-July as setting the stage for the eventual deal.
“Senator McConnell, who is a very astute politician, understands very well how the Congress works,” he said. “But, you know, rather than me saying who won and who lost and … there will be plenty of time for that.”
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) held out hope Monday that the super committee would agree to new ways of raising revenues.
“I certainly hope that we can come to a consensus through this joint committee much the same we did with the Bowles-Simpson Commission and with the Gang of Six that basically says put everything on the table,” he said on CNN’s “American Morning,” althouh he admitted that previous bipartisan efforts “went nowhere.”
“We’re going to have to decide as a nation whether we’re going somewhere, whether there is a bipartisan commitment to reducing this debt,” he said. “Two trillion is good, but $4 trillion was really our goal and still should be our goal. That means putting everything on the table. I hope this joint committee will move us in that direction, some of the threats, the so-called trigger may move them to that conclusion.”
Potential cuts to defense spending and to domestic spending create “a compelling political case on both sides” to support the findings of the committee, Durbin said on MSNBC.
Another Democrat, Rep. Barney Frank, said on MSNBC that he does “not like this deal,” but “it would’ve been worse” for the president to invoke the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and raise the debt ceiling on his own. That, the Massachusetts congressman said, “would have so exacerbated anger.”
The president’s advisors didn’t quite hail the deal as a victory, but they were enthusiastic about being able to move on to other issues facing the country.
Once the bill is signed into law, the Obama administration and Congress “can move forcefully and centrally onto the economy, onto job creation,” Plouffe said on NBC. “This debt ceiling clearly was harming our economy, it was harming consumer confidence.”
“I think the American people obviously would like a little bit more compromise and less shouting,” Plouffe said. “That’s the leadership the president tried to bring and hopefully moving forward our leaders in Congress — particularly in the Republican Party will learn that this can’t be my way or the highway, that any agreement in divided government is going to be based on compromise.”
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