White House Chief of Staff William Daley unequivocally said for the first time that President Barack Obama would veto a plan that does not raise the debt ceiling through 2013.
When asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether the president would veto such a plan, Daley said, “Yes, the president believes that we must get this uncertainty ... out of the system.
“It must be extended in a way that gives certainty to the economy through ’13, not some short-term gimmick where we’re right back in this fix in six or eight months, and the world looks at us once again and says, in the middle of the political election year of presidential politics ... ‘These people just can’t get their act together,’” he added.
Daley backed a two-tiered approach being worked on by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in which a “super committee” would tackle deficit reduction after a debt limit increase is enacted.
But Daley expressed concern about whether the House Republican Conference is serious about compromise, and he suggested that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) does not have control over his Conference.
“I think there is a serious question, and a debate within the Republican caucus, as to the future and where they want to go,” Daley said. “I think [Boehner] is a partner [in debt and deficit reduction talks], but he’s got a caucus that may have a very different attitude about how they want to see government function.”
Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Daley expressed confidence that lawmakers and the administration would ultimately agree on a deal in time to meet the looming Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling, but he suggested it would require that House conservatives accept tax increases as part of the agreement.
“The Democratic leaders have made a serious commitment to deliver the votes for serious deficit reduction,” Daley said. “What you’re seeing in the House, in my opinion, is a caucus that wants it their way or the highway. The American people elected divided government [in 2010], not dysfunctional government.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, speaks with reporters in the Capitol after a speech on the Senate floor that accused the CIA of searching computers set up for Congressional staff for their research of interrogation programs.