July 26th, 2011
08:09 PM ET

Obama sidelined in debt talks?

When all of this started, President Obama- by choice- kept his distance, tasking Vice President Joe Biden instead to do his bidding with Congress. He eventually got very involved and was negotiating with Speaker Boehner for the last several weeks. Now his role has changed again as House Republicans try to eject the president from the conversation but can he really be sidelined?


soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. John

    Can one really be "very involved" if they never really had a plan on the table? Maybe both sides will be able to reach agreement with BO on the sidelines.
    It just needs to be said that the Joe Biden did a great job in these negotiations. He really made great progress.

    July 27, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • jean2009

      The President did put a plan on the table but Rethugliklans wouldn't accept.

      Bipartisan, Bicameral Negotiations on a Legislative Framework: The President has asked Majority Leader Reid, Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Leader McConnell to each designate four Members from their caucuses to participate in bipartisan, bicameral negotiations led by the Vice President, beginning in early May. The goal of these negotiations is to agree on a legislative framework for comprehensive deficit reduction.

      Policy Highlights. The policy highlights in the President’s framework build on the down-payment included in his FY 2012 Budget. They include:

      * Non-security discretionary spending: The President is proposing to build on the savings from the FY 2011 budget agreement, while investing in key drivers of economic growth like energy innovation, education, and infrastructure. This would entail cutting non-security discretionary spending to levels consistent with the Fiscal Commission, saving $770 billion by 2023.
      * Security spending: The President’s framework will go beyond the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget to achieve deeper reductions in security spending. It sets a goal of holding the growth in base security spending below inflation, while ensuring our capacity to meet our national security responsibilities, which would save $400 billion by 2023.
      * Health care: The President’s framework builds on the Affordable Care Act by including new reforms aimed at further reducing the growth of health care spending – a major driver of long-term deficits. The President opposes any plan that would simply shift costs to seniors and the vulnerable by undermining Medicare and Medicaid. Building on the foundation of the historic deficit reduction achieved through the Affordable Care Act, the framework would save an additional $340 billion by 2021, $480 billion by 2023, and at least an additional $1 trillion in the subsequent decade. These savings complement the new patient safety initiative that could lower Medicare costs by another $50 billion over the next decade by providing better care. The President’s framework includes initiatives that will:
      * Bend the long-term cost curve by setting a more ambitious target of holding Medicare cost growth per beneficiary to GDP per capita plus 0.5 percent beginning in 2018, through strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
      * Make Medicaid more flexible, efficient and accountable without resorting to block granting the program, ending our partnership with States or reducing health care coverage for seniors in nursing homes, the most economically vulnerable and people with disabilities. Combined Medicaid savings of at least $100 billion over 10 years.
      * Reduce Medicare’s excessive spending on prescription drugs and lower drug premiums for beneficiaries without shifting costs to seniors or privatizing Medicare. Combined Medicare savings of at least $200 billion over 10 years.
      * Other mandatory spending: Outside of health care, comprehensive deficit reduction must include savings in other mandatory programs, including agricultural subsidies, the federal pension insurance system, and anti-fraud measures, while protecting and strengthening programs that serve low-income families and other vulnerable Americans. The President’s framework includes a target of $360 billion in savings from other mandatory programs by 2023.
      * Tax reform: the President is calling for individual tax reform that closes loopholes and produces a system which is simpler, fairer and not rigged in favor of those who can afford lawyers and accountants to game it. The President supports the Fiscal Commission’s goal of reducing tax expenditures enough to both lower rates and lower the deficit.
      * Social Security: The President does not believe that Social Security is in crisis nor is a driver of our near-term deficit problems. But, in the context of an aging population and a Social Security wage base that is declining as a share of overall earnings, Social Security faces long-term challenges that are better addressed sooner than later to ensure that the program remains for future generations the rock-solid benefit for older Americans that it has been for past generations. That is why the President supports bipartisan efforts to strengthen Social Security for the long haul. These efforts should be guided by several principles, including strengthening the program and not privatizing it, improving retirement security for the vulnerable while protecting people with disabilities and current beneficiaries, and not slashing benefits for future generations.

      Bipartisan, Bicameral Negotiations on a Legislative Framework: The President has asked Majority Leader Reid, Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Leader McConnell to each designate four Members from their caucuses to participate in bipartisan, bicameral negotiations led by the Vice President, beginning in early May. The goal of these negotiations is to agree on a legislative framework for comprehensive deficit reduction.

      Policy Highlights. The policy highlights in the President’s framework build on the down-payment included in his FY 2012 Budget. They include:

      * Non-security discretionary spending: The President is proposing to build on the savings from the FY 2011 budget agreement, while investing in key drivers of economic growth like energy innovation, education, and infrastructure. This would entail cutting non-security discretionary spending to levels consistent with the Fiscal Commission, saving $770 billion by 2023.
      * Security spending: The President’s framework will go beyond the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget to achieve deeper reductions in security spending. It sets a goal of holding the growth in base security spending below inflation, while ensuring our capacity to meet our national security responsibilities, which would save $400 billion by 2023.
      * Health care: The President’s framework builds on the Affordable Care Act by including new reforms aimed at further reducing the growth of health care spending – a major driver of long-term deficits. The President opposes any plan that would simply shift costs to seniors and the vulnerable by undermining Medicare and Medicaid. Building on the foundation of the historic deficit reduction achieved through the Affordable Care Act, the framework would save an additional $340 billion by 2021, $480 billion by 2023, and at least an additional $1 trillion in the subsequent decade. These savings complement the new patient safety initiative that could lower Medicare costs by another $50 billion over the next decade by providing better care. The President’s framework includes initiatives that will:
      * Bend the long-term cost curve by setting a more ambitious target of holding Medicare cost growth per beneficiary to GDP per capita plus 0.5 percent beginning in 2018, through strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
      * Make Medicaid more flexible, efficient and accountable without resorting to block granting the program, ending our partnership with States or reducing health care coverage for seniors in nursing homes, the most economically vulnerable and people with disabilities. Combined Medicaid savings of at least $100 billion over 10 years.
      * Reduce Medicare’s excessive spending on prescription drugs and lower drug premiums for beneficiaries without shifting costs to seniors or privatizing Medicare. Combined Medicare savings of at least $200 billion over 10 years.
      * Other mandatory spending: Outside of health care, comprehensive deficit reduction must include savings in other mandatory programs, including agricultural subsidies, the federal pension insurance system, and anti-fraud measures, while protecting and strengthening programs that serve low-income families and other vulnerable Americans. The President’s framework includes a target of $360 billion in savings from other mandatory programs by 2023.
      * Tax reform: the President is calling for individual tax reform that closes loopholes and produces a system which is simpler, fairer and not rigged in favor of those who can afford lawyers and accountants to game it. The President supports the Fiscal Commission’s goal of reducing tax expenditures enough to both lower rates and lower the deficit.
      * Social Security: The President does not believe that Social Security is in crisis nor is a driver of our near-term deficit problems. But, in the context of an aging population and a Social Security wage base that is declining as a share of overall earnings, Social Security faces long-term challenges that are better addressed sooner than later to ensure that the program remains for future generations the rock-solid benefit for older Americans that it has been for past generations. That is why the President supports bipartisan efforts to strengthen Social Security for the long haul. These efforts should be guided by several principles, including strengthening the program and not privatizing it, improving retirement security for the vulnerable while protecting people with disabilities and current beneficiaries, and not slashing benefits for future generations.

      July 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  2. Bobby Blevins

    We all agree (President, Republicans, Democrats and the American People), the debt limit must be raised, so pass a bill to raise it by the amount required and include in the bill that for every penny raised, cuts must be made before the end of 2012 or the cuts will be made equiatablly across all entitlement programs.

    Once bill passes, then all the politicans, not leaders, can go back to work bickering within their party lines on what they think is best for the country. One thing is for sure, if an everday Citizen continued to write bad checks, we would be in jail. All elected politicans should be held accountable. Either balance the budget or resign. You can't keep writing bad checks. Also cutout forien aid until we do balance the budget. Americans are hurting stop helping other countries, help your own.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • jean2009

      No make cuts were they can be reasonably made,
      Restructure some programs.
      Cut spending on wars.
      Go back to Clinton era tax rates.

      July 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm |