President Barack Obama will still pursue a $4 trillion deal to cut the deficit over the next 10 years after Congressional Republican leaders deemed it unworkable, White House Chief of Staff William Daley said Sunday.
“Everyone agrees that a number around $4 trillion is the number that will send — make a serious dent on our deficit. It will send a statement to the world that the U.S. has gotten hold of their problems. ... That’s the president’s commitment. That’s what he wants to see,” Daley said on ABC’s “This Week.”
The White House and lawmakers are negotiating a deficit reduction package to accompany an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling, but Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced Saturday night that he was abandoning the far-reaching debt deal because of the White House’s insistence on including revenue raisers. He said he would instead favor a smaller deficit reduction package. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed on “Fox News Sunday” that the major deal was off the table.
Boehner, McConnell, other GOP Congressional leaders, and Democratic leaders from the House and Senate are expected to gather at the White House at 6 p.m. Sunday for more negotiations with Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden. The Treasury Department has said that the nation faces a potentially catastrophic default on Aug. 2 if lawmakers do not act to raise the debt ceiling.
The president is “not someone to walk away from a tough fight,” Daley said, adding that it’s “up to the Republicans to decide whether or not their plan is to just kick the can.”
But he said he was convinced that the nation will not default on its debts.
“By the 2nd of August, there’s no question in my mind that the leaders of America will not see a first default, will not allow the first default in the history of the country to occur. I’m confident of that,” Daley said. “But this is not just about the debt ceiling being extended. This is about bringing fiscal soundness so that the world and Americans can know that we can solve our problems ourself, and do it in a way that there is shared pain and there is shared responsibility. And that’s what the president is fighting for.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.