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Obama Presses Skeptical Dem Leaders On Big Deal With Boehner


Later, White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer tweeted that reports of a $3 trillion deal without revenues were incorrect. "POTUS believes we need a balanced approach that includes revenues," he wrote. However, what the President believes and what he may ultimately feel compelled to sign off on are not necessarily the same. Equally, Pfeiffer's tweet would not seem to rule out the idea of "aspirational" revenues that would come at some unspecified time in the future, while coupled with cuts that could begin immediately.

Two aides and a third source close to the principals confirmed that Obama has been emphatic with Democratic negotiators that his preference is to negotiate a big deal with Boehner and squeeze it through Congress.

Lacking still, including among Democratic sources, is any sense of what's in the still-forming plan -- vis a vis both spending and revenue. And Democrats, particularly in the House, will have a lot to say over whether the deal is acceptable -- their votes will be necessary for Boehner to pull off a grand bargain.

Earlier Thursday, I asked House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer whether the center of gravity of White House negotiations was on reaching a comprehensive deal on reducing deficits and raising the debt limit, or simply to avert a catastrophic default.

"I think both," Hoyer told me. "As I said you have a short-term [imperative] and a long-term and we're discussing both."

This post has been updated.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at