Prez on Debt Limit: “Don’t Call My Bluff”

Wow. Things are starting to get nasty Inside the Beltway as the Prez and members of Congress play kick the can with the nation’s debt limit and government spending. The daily White House meetings should be televised. Great reality TV.

In yesterday’s episode, the Prez reportedly said several times “enough is enough” and then abruptly walked out of the meeting. Go figure.

Here’s from a story on The Huffington Post, “Obama Warns Cantor ‘Don’t Call My Bluff’ As Debt Talks Stall“:

Lawmakers and the White House had what nearly every party is describing as a “tough” and “testy” meeting on the debt ceiling Wednesday afternoon, culminating in a stormy exchange between President Barack Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

It was the fifth straight day of talks, but the first in which attendees, speaking on background, were willing to admit that steps were taken backwards. According to multiple sources, disagreements surfaced early, in the middle and at the end of the nearly two-hour talks. At issue was Cantor’s repeated push to do a short-term resolution and Obama’s insistence that he would not accept one.

“Eric, don’t call my bluff. I’m going to the American people on this,” the president said, according to both Cantor and another attendee. “This process is confirming what the American people think is the worst about Washington: that everyone is more interested in posturing, political positioning, and protecting their base, than in resolving real problems.”

Cantor, speaking to reporters after the meeting, said that the president “abruptly” walked off after offering his scolding.

“I know why he lost his temper. He’s frustrated. We’re all frustrated,” the Virginia Republican said.

Democratic officials had a different interpretation. “The meeting ended with Cantor being dressed down while sitting in silence,” one official said in an email. “[The president] said Cantor could not have it both ways of insisting on dollar-for-dollar and still not being open to revenues.”

And at the same time, there appears that some are giving serious consideration to Mitch McConnell’s wet dream to solve the debt issue. As best I can tell, he wants to give the Prez the authority (without Republicans having to vote on it) to hike the debt ceiling — with the subsequent hope and prayer that there will be spending cuts implemented in three stages.

For once I agree with the editors at WaPo who opine this morning “McConnell’s escape hatch: The best Washington can do?“:

The McConnell plan offers political cover for cowardice and irresponsibility. If it is the best Washington can do, it is better than nothing. But it’s not much of an advertisement for what Washington can do.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the USA women’s soccer team advanced to the finals of the World Cup on Sunday with a thrilling victory over France. Here’s a great report from Sally Jenkins in WaPo, “U.S. women’s soccer team takes joy in forging its own identity“:

Pardon any typos; they’re the result of sprains from doing an Abby Wambach slide across the living room floor after watching the U.S. women’s soccer team make the World Cup final. The American women have at last forged their own identity, those gorgeous toughies, with their bulging shoulders and their sweat-plastered hair and their habit of storming and screaming their way out of trouble.

Bulletin to the spray-on tan crowd: Beat it. The big girls are here.

Just a thought here but worth considering.

Perhaps the Prez, Eric Cantor and the others trying to figure what’s on or off the table these days are getting testy because they can’t watch the live broadcasts of the USA women’s team and the World Cup matches.

Let’s hope they aren’t meeting about the deficit during the final on Sunday. Things could get really dicey in the West Wing.


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