President Obama went into full-on “stern dad” mode during today’s press conference on debt ceiling negotiations. Not only did he flatly reject a stopgap increase in the debt ceiling, but he did so with language that Sasha and Malia have surely heard from time to time:
This is the United States of America, and we don’t manage our affairs in three-month increments. … I will not sign a 30-day, or a 60-day, or a 90-day extension. That is just not an acceptable approach. And if we think it’s hard now, imagine how these guys are going to be thinking six months from now, in the middle of the election season when they’re all up.
We might as well do it now. Pull off the Band-aid. Eat our peas. Now is the time to do it. If not now, when?
Obama reiterated his calls for both Democrats and Republicans to compromise in the deficit debate and accept spending cuts and revenue increases that each side will find distasteful. The “my way or the highway” attitude that has recently taken hold on Capitol Hill will lead to nothing getting done, he said: “I do not see a path to a deal if they don’t budge, period.”
He refuted Republican claims that his proposals to close the deficit in part by raising taxes on the wealthy would kill jobs in a recession by saying they wouldn’t take effect until 2013. If tax loopholes aren’t closed and all deficit reduction comes from spending cuts, that will devastate seniors and the poor, Obama said. “It’s not that I have this grand ambition to create a bigger government,” Obama said. “It’s because if we’re going to actually solve this problem, there are a finite number of ways to do it. If we don’t have revenues, we’re putting the burden on people who can least afford it.”
(That surely drew gales of laughter from the sizeable portion of the Republican party that hammers Obama day-in-day-out with just that big government charge.)
Obama press conferences are usually filled with long, stemwinding answers, and this one was no different. But when a reporter asked him whether the administration was preparing contingency plans in case the debt ceiling is not raised, he offered his shortest response of the day: “We are gonna get this done by August 2.”