Briefing Room Bites
August 1st, 2011
03:21 PM ET

Briefing Room Bites

A day after the White House and Congress announced a late night compromise to avert the United States going into default, Vice President Joe Biden headed to the Hill to win over Democratic votes. Press Secretary Jay Carney fielded questions at Monday’s White House briefing:

Question: [What is the message] for liberal Democrats who are saying...that the president gave up too much in this agreement?

"...the deal negotiated with leaders of Congress is a victory for the American people. This agreement ensures that the debt ceiling will be extended through 2012, removing that cloud of uncertainty from the economy.
[T]he agreement ensures that there is an initial round of spending cuts that protect vital investments, that will ensure that the economy can continue to grow, protect vital things like Pell Grants, that are a high priority for the president, and, significantly, ensure that there's a fire wall in the discretionary spending cuts between defense and non-defense spending which, again, is a kind of protection we haven't seen in a long time that is essential to making this a fair and balanced deal.
[T]here is a committee set up... that will be bicameral and bipartisan, with equal representation between Republicans and Democrats. And that committee will be charged with finding ways to ensure - finding ways to reduce the deficit even further - $1.5 trillion further.
And everything is on the table for that committee, everything including both entitlement reform and tax reform."

Question: [W]hat's the message to Democrats who see this as a capitulation, who see it as a bill that reflects more of the Republican priorities than the Democratic priorities?

"It is not a perfect agreement. It is not the one that the president or Democrats would have crafted if only they controlled all levers of government themselves, obviously. But it does accomplish some significant things..."

Question: [T]his debate was so contentious and it was so partisan, what can the American people realistically expect Washington to be able to do, particularly on jobs, between now and the election?

"[T]here's no doubt that the process we have seen in the past several weeks and months was kind of a mess...There is no question. It was a circus at times. We unnecessarily sent the message around the country and the globe that the United States might, in fact, default on its obligations for the first time in its history. But in the end, compromise won out and an agreement that we believe strongly is in the interests of the American people was achieved.
So looking forward, we hope to be able to build on that....we then move on to the work of the committee and to all the other initiatives that we need to get going that will help create jobs and drive the economy. And we believe fundamentally that there is broad consensus in Washington that we need to focus on growth and job creation.”

Question: Doesn't this deal in essence kick the can down the road? I mean, it's not really dealing with any of the hot-button issues now.

“There is no question that the president preferred a grand bargain up front that would have deal with all of these issues, all at once.
Once that was not going to happen, what we needed to do was ensure, A, that the debt ceiling was lifted for an extended period of time, so the cloud of uncertainty would be removed from our economy; and, B, that we got significant - we, nevertheless, got significant deficit reduction that was balanced.
And we believe that this compromise, while not perfect, achieves that, and that, while on the issue of tax reform and entitlement reform, the can is kicked a little bit down the road. The fact is that the legislation forces action on this very soon. The committee must report out by Thanksgiving; Congress must give an up-or-down vote by Christmas.
In terms of the way Congress normally rolls, that's pretty darn fast.”

Question: What's the strategy at this point on getting a payroll tax extension, which wasn't included in this measure? Is the president still committed to doing that, and how do you do it?

"The president is committed to doing that...There is no question that he will continue to push for this. And he will make the argument that it is absolutely essential to continue to put extra money in Americans' pockets as they deal with high energy prices and high food prices next year..."

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. California Conservative

    After further consideration this bill is a combination of shams on both sides. Politics as usual in D.C. We'd be better off voting this monstrosity DOWN.

    Washington up to it's old tricks again. The status quo is still in place.


    August 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Russell Brown

      true freedom derides it just power
      from the concent of the goverment.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  2. billfromGa

    It is this simple and goes back a many of years in the making and true as the day is long! A divided house can not stand! If the Dems & Reps don't stop bickering and whining woring about who gets there way and get on the same page this country will not last too much longer period!

    August 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  3. jean2009

    Debt Ceiling Cost American Taxpayers $1.7 Billion in interest increases.

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - The debt ceiling debacle has just cost U.S. taxpayers more than $1.7 billion.

    That's the amount of additional interest the government had to pay investors Monday to sell Treasury bills that finance its operations.

    To be precise, the extra cost is $1,721,250,000 more in interest payments than the government would have needed to pay investors just two weeks ago, when they were willing to accept far lower rates before the debt ceiling became a crisis.

    "That's real money," said IHS Chief Economist Nariman Behravesh. "Taxpayers need to wake up to the fact that these kind of shenanigans in the end cost."

    The Teapotty Republicans just cost all of us more.

    August 1, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      If your president had not wasted money on bank loans, auto buyout, and failed stimulus spending, we would not have to borrow more money.

      August 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
      • jean2009

        From the CATO, Institute article about written by a Reagan Republican

        January 1, 2006
        How Bush Bankrupted America

        by Bruce Bartlett

        by Bruce Bartlett is a nationally syndicated columnist and the author of Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, just published by Doubleday, on which this essay is based.
        According to Citizens Against Government Waste, there has been more pork-barrel spending during the Bush years than at any time in American history. Both the amount of money and the number of pork-barrel projects have risen every year, from $18.5 billion and 6,333 projects in 2001 to $27.3 billion and an amazing 13,999 projects in 2005.

        Further hindering White House efforts to restrain spending has been Bush’s own proclivity for “big projects.” In the words of journalist Fred Barnes, whose reporting often reflects the Bush White House viewpoint: “For Bush, achieving these is more important than balancing the budget. By definition, that makes him a big government conservative willing to embrace deficit spending for the sake of large, critical government programs.”

        And he didn't cover the unfunded Wars (2) the Medicare drug-benefit that saved no one a dime, or the TARP bailout of big business and banks which all happened before the end of 2008..

        Who do you think you can fool with your lies, and distorted review of history?

        August 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
      • jean2009

        @ Jay in NC...Perpetual HISTORY FAILURE

        The TARP program (Wall St. bank bailout) was signed by Pres. Bush on Oct 3 and was extended to include GM & Chrysler buyout on Oct 19, 2008. Pres. Obama wasn't elected until Nov 2. A month after these deals were signed by G.W. Bush.

        So, those as I have told you many times before, are on the Bush era sheet of necessary accomplishments. He knew how bad he had broke the country and was trying a last minute Hail Mary Pass to save his future presidential record.....LOL with that one!

        You know JAY your knowledge of history sucks.... just as much as some of my nephews who had their father's obituary list him as a Korean War Veteran. He served in the Army, not in Korea or for the Korean War. I explained to them he didn't serve for the Korean War....he was all of 12 years old when the Korean War ended.

        Don't they teach history anymore?

        August 2, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
      • Jaycen

        "Your president" – Ah, the battle cry of the Liberal Progressive.

        George Bush was a Progressive. I'm shocked most Liberals didn't support him more. He doubled spending on entitlements during his terms.

        Anyway, Tea Partiers aren't Republicans, so trashing George Bush gains you nothing. Most of us didn't like him either. LOL

        Trotting out the phrase does indicate you don't really have a logical thought process to back up your position. You should work on that. Learn some history, and more importantly, learn something about the Constitution.

        August 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
      • Jaycen

        jean, there's no such thing as a "Big Government Conservative". If someone is for Big Government, then by definition, they are not a Conservative.

        Bush was a Big Government Republican, or a Progressive Republican. Without a doubt. He was NOT a Conservative by any stretch of the imagination.

        August 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Russell Brown

      what ever happen to this america
      in the future days which we seek to make secure
      we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedom,
      the first is freedom of speech and experission everywhere in the world
      the second is freedom of everyperson to worship G-d in hisown way everywhere in the world
      the third is freedom from want which tranlated into world terms means economic understanding which will
      secure to every nation healthy peace-time life for its in habitants everywhere in the world
      the fourth is freedom from fear which traslated into world terms means world wide reduction of armaments
      to such a point and in such at through fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical
      aggression againts any neighbor anywhere in the world .

      August 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Jaycen


      How can you say the Tea Party cost America more, when we didn't want any kind of deal in the first place? Very few Tea Partiers supported this nonsense. Most of us wanted complete gridlock and default. We wanted to force the government to restructure its debt so we could start handling it, instead of racking up more.

      No, Liberals and Republicans are to blame. If you need proof, just look at the votes. Only a couple of Tea Party Republicans voted Yes. Most voted No.

      August 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  4. Dee

    You certainly would not have to borrow money because without President Obama you would be deep in a depression eating bread and drinking water and rationing food. Go back to the history book and read about the depression.

    This whole mess is about denigrating this President and McConnall accomplishing what he said making this President a one term President. This about a man of color being in the White House and everyone knows this but want to sweep it under the rugs and call it playing the race card, but it is the truth.

    This is the President of all Americans and some decision that he has to make is saving the whole country. We are in this mess because of past transgressions and we didn't get in this mess overnight and it is going take time to get out of it. Everyting that he proposes the GOP votes no then his hands are tied so don't blame the President it is the Congress.
    We pay them to work for us and not tie up legislatures in the Congress to hurt this man.

    We as Americans need to remind them when we vote who is writing their paychecks and the young people in this country are sick of them and they are certainly not setting an example for them.

    August 1, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • California Conservative

      If you don't blame the president but you blame the congress under the democrats argument of Clinton giving us a surplus of money that it was actually congress then that did it under Newt being the speaker.

      Can't have it both ways. You can try but you're just out right LYING.

      August 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
      • Russell Brown

        California conservative is this the forum that you should makes threats in .
        thank you for being so perfect thank you for saving

        August 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
      • Russell Brown

        what action have the conservative party in california taking
        to bring jobs to cut taxes save people from losen there homes
        fix the education system the homless issue it is amazing how the
        conservative movement has move away from the teaching and policy
        of Jesus so that the folks who dont want to be accountable for doing evil to there bother,
        we use to love and help each other most turn their back on america
        like foxnews like the teaparty conservative wall street have you as well.
        repent now repent now the eyes are watching the ears are listen the poor are crying /and dining
        there are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth not going all the way for Jesus
        and not starting to go for Jesus..

        August 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Russell Brown

      we have come to be one of the worst ruled one of the
      most completely controllrd goverments in the civilized world no longer
      a goverment by a vote of the majority but a goverment by the opinion and
      duress of a small group of men.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
      • Russell Brown


        August 2, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • Russell Brown

      now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
      above all that we ask or think
      according to the power that workth in us

      August 2, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • Jaycen


      Please take your own advice and learn some history. The Depression was worsened by FDR. The rationing and soup kitchen lines were the RESULT of his policies.

      Who cares about President Obama and "denigrating" him? Are you serious? Do you REALLY believe so many Americans have nothing better to do but sit around and "denigrate" anyone?

      Wow. What kind of life do YOU lead?

      August 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
      • Almir

        Obama PROMISED that government sednping would stimulate the economy and quell rising unemployment by creating or saving millions of jobs. In January 2009, Obama's advisors produced a chart visualizing the positive results of his recovery plan. When you take that original chart and overlay actual unemployment data, you find what a colossal failure Mr. Obama's stimulus has been.The Obama chart had unemployment maxing at 8%, then declining to about 6.5% by mid 2011. MR. OBAMA, YOU LIED.

        April 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  5. Russell Brown

    America what happen to those promies
    the right to a useful job
    the right to earn for food clothing and recreation
    the right of every farmer to sell his products
    the right of every buniess man to trade without
    domination of monopolies
    the right to a decent home
    the right to adequate medical care
    the right to a good education
    the right to economic protection.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  6. Russell Brown


    August 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  7. Dee


    You need to get your facts straight I said if it had not been for the President we would have been in a depression and I do know my history. FDR has nothing to do with now and also I said the GOP's are trying to denigrated him not all Americans. There is a segment of society that will never accept him for President and that includes you.

    Knowing you are from North Carolina I know the mentality of some from there because I lived the ugliness of the Civil Rights Movement. It is easy to define the distaste from some of the comments that are being made.

    With all the wars and rumors of wars, droughts, fighting with each other, the economy tanking, stock markets down this is a sign that the higher power is trying to tell us something instead of us hurting each other we should be helping to pull this country together, by embracing each other and praying.

    August 5, 2011 at 12:43 am |
    • Jay in NC

      Dee, You said about Jaycen, "Knowing you are from North Carolina I know the mentality of some from there because I lived the ugliness of the Civil Rights Movement."

      The Civil Rights Movement was not limited to the south. In January 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King, moved to Chicago. Civil rights groups had invited him to lead a demonstration against de facto segregation in education, housing, and employment.

      Also check out the Chicago Race Riot of 1919. Yep, you Northerners sure know how to be civil.

      August 5, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  8. Dee

    Excuse me I am not a Northerner I am from the deep south who experienced the fire hoses and back of the bus so this conversation has ended.

    August 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm |