President Obama admitted in a video message the debt deal is “far from satisfying,” but he comforted supporters by suggesting they won’t get rolled as badly the next time around.
Under the White House’s agreement with Republican leaders, the bulk of its deficit reduction would be determined by a bipartisan commission that must either pass a second package in Congress this year or trigger automatic cuts to defense and Medicare. Obama said this group would be critically important to achieving Democrats’ ultimate goal of higher taxes on the wealthy to help cover the budget gap.
“I’ve said from the beginning that the ultimate solution must be balanced. Big corporations and the wealthiest Americans shouldn’t be exempt from kicking in,” he said. “That’s just fair.”
He also hinted at some more bitter pills on entitlements, however, talking up the need “to make modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare so they’re around for future generations.”
Both of these issues would be tackled by the committee, he said.
“That’s why the second part of this agreement is so important,” he said. “It establishes a bipartisan committee of Congress to report back by November with a proposal to reduce the deficit even further, which will be put before the entire Congress for an up or down vote. No tricks, no games, no delays.”
He concluded: “This chapter is over. But that work and that debate continues.”