Home Budget, Economy President Obama on Debt Ceiling: “If Not Now, When?”

President Obama on Debt Ceiling: “If Not Now, When?”

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A full transcript of President Obama’s press conference on the debt ceiling is here, and an excerpt is below. The bottom line, though, is that Republicans are completely incapable of reaching an even semi-serious compromise, one in which both sides give something, because they are terrified of/controlled by the extremists in their party. That’s why John Boehner, who had wanted to cut a big deal with President Obama, was forced to back down. It’s also why the ambitious, cutthroat, unprincipled Eric Cantor is happy right now, as he sees a path to move up in rank. Meanwhile, the country’s solvency, economy, prosperity, future all hang in the balance, while Republicans like Eric Cantor stick to their rigid, taxes-are-evil, my-way-or-the-highway approach. Wonderful, eh?

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 going to be hard — if we think it’s hard now, imagine how these guys are going to be thinking six months from now in the middle of election season where they’re all up.  It’s not going to get easier.  It’s going to get harder.  So we might as well do it now — pull off the Band-Aid; eat our peas.  (Laughter.)  Now is the time to do it.  If not now, when?

We keep on talking about this stuff and we have these high-minded pronouncements about how we’ve got to get control of the deficit and how we owe it to our children and our grandchildren. Well, let’s step up.  Let’s do it.  I’m prepared to do it.  I’m prepared to take on significant heat from my party to get something done.  And I expect the other side should be willing to do the same thing — if they mean what they say that this is important.

I believe that’s known as “calling their bluff.” So, now what happens?