From Huffington Post, July 13, 2011
President Barack Obama walked out of a contentious meeting in ongoing talks to raise the nation's debt limit on Wednesday, an aide tells Reuters.
Politico reports that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the president stormed out of the negotiating session with top congressional lawmakers.
The Hill reports that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi disputed Cantor's account of what occurred at the end of the meeting.
"Cantor's account of tonight's meeting is completely overblown," a House Democratic aide told HuffPost. "For someone who knows how to walk out of a meeting, you'd think he['d] know it when he saw it. Cantor rudely interrupted the President three times to advocate for short-term debt ceiling increases while the President was wrapping the meeting. This is just more juvenile behavior from him and Boehner needs to rein him in, and let the grown-ups get to work."
A GOP aide told Reuters after Wednesday's meeting that the president would not renegotiate his bottom line as to what he would compromise in the ongoing discussions. According to the aide Obama said, "I have reached the point where I say enough." He reportedly added, "Would Ronald Reagan be sitting here? I've reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this."
The AP reports that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke issued a warning to lawmakers on Wednesday that failing to strike a deal and allowing the country to default on its debt would send "shock waves through the entire financial system."
Anybody who has been watching the struggle to raise the debt ceiling between leaders of the Congress and the White House cannot but "side" with the President here. The Republicans, cowering behind their peers in the House of Representatives where they hold a majority of the seats, have consistently refused to open the door to tax hikes in the next two or three years, not this year or next year, in extended negotiations at the White House.
Publicly, the President has indicated his willingness to open up Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to cuts in benefits, something Democrats are strongly opposed to doing, because their base depends on those benefits, and he has invited, coaxed, cajoled, pushed, embarrassed and even attempted to bully the Republicans into a similar "movement" on their sacred cow, of no hike in taxes, but all his efforts have failed so far.
Clearly, if the U.S. fails to raise the debt ceiling by August 2, there will be people in large numbers who will not receive their cheques, the same cheques that the depend on to continue to exist: veterans whose disability cheques permit them to buy food, the elderly who are also dependent on those cheques. And furthermore, the U.S. will, for the first time in its history, default on its responsibilities, leaving the bond rating institutions no choice but to lower the bond rating, lower the credit rating, raise the interest rates that everyone pays, and plunge the western world into a chaos that we may not be able to extricate ourselves from easily.
This is not only brinkmanship; it is irresponsible.
And most people in Obama's shoes would have "walked out" long before he did yesterday, at the immaturity, and the deviousness and the sheer bull-headedness of the Republican "leadership". They are not leaders; they are merely hungry for power, determined to make Obama a one-term president, while offering nothing by way of balanced alternatives.