President Barack Obama’s decision to bring hoagies to lunch with Congressional leaders today was a bipartisan hit, but it did nothing to stop a looming crisis over raising the debt ceiling at the end of the year.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) pressed the president on whether he wants a clean increase in the debt ceiling without spending cuts; Obama said “yes,” according to Boehner’s office.
Boehner vowed that wouldn’t happen while he’s Speaker.
“As long as I’m around here, I’m not going to allow a debt ceiling increase without doing something serious about the debt,” Boehner told the president.
Boehner also pressed Obama on preventing Bush-era tax cuts from expiring this year and approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The Speaker urged the president to encourage Attorney General Eric Holder to cooperate with the Congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.
“The Speaker was very pleased with the sandwiches served,” a Boehner aide said.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the meeting constructive, with the president pushing for his latest to-do list of job-creation initiatives as well as items such as the Violence Against Women Act, the transportation bill and legislation on student loans.
“There was a healthy, positive discussion,” he said.
But Carney said the president made it clear he was not willing to repeat last year’s debt hostage drama.
“We are not going to recreate the debt ceiling debacle of last August,” Carney said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.