Obama To GOP: Is Game Of ‘Kick The Can’ On The Deficit Over Yet?

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July 5, 2011 1:54 p.m.
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President Barack Obama is refusing to accept a piecemeal approach to raising the nation’s borrowing limit while kicking the can down the road on reducing the spiraling deficit.

“I’ve heard reports that maybe some in Congress want to do just enough to make sure America doesn’t default in the short term,” he said, rejecting the proposition.“I believe that right now we have a unique opportunity to do something great,” he said.

Citing some progress even though “real differences” remain on raising the debt ceiling, Obama on Tuesday invited leaders of Congress to the White House on Thursday to continue negotiations on a long-term deficit deal.

Reaching a compromise, Obama said, would require both sides to move beyond their comfort zones. He said that entitlements, defense spending and taxes need to be a part of any deal.

Earlier Tuesday, for the second time in a week Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) invited Obama to Capitol Hill to continue deficit talks.

“Republicans in Congress believe that finding a way to reduce the deficit and put Medicare on more secure footing is a conversation worth having,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. Last week Obama rejected McConnell’s same-day invitation because of Republican intransigence when it comes to opposing any and all tax increases. Obama and Congressional Democrats want to close loopholes for oil companies and wealthy “corporate jet owners” to help cut the deficit.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) first suggested last weekend that a “mini” deal on the raising the debt ceiling while putting off the larger goal of reducing the deficit may be needed as the Aug. 2 deadline draws closer with no signs of a deal. But that idea seems to have little traction on Capitol Hill or in the White House.

Obama spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday also rejected a short-term increase without a broader compromise on reducing the deficit after the president finished speaking.

Obama doesn’t want an agreement that just “kicks the can down the road,” Carney said.

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