Sen. Klobuchar says a “grand bargain” budget deal is still possible. Speaker Boehner is less sure.
Washington – The fight between Democrats and Republicans over how to address the nation’s fiscal health continues even after a week of meetings between President Obama and Republicans on Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday.
“It’s always a good thing to engage in more conversation,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “But when you get down to the bottom line, the president believes that we have to have more taxes from the American people, we’re not going to get very far.”
Obama urged Democrats to be open to revisions in entitlement programs and pressed Republicans to put increases in revenue onto the negotiating table in the meetings with lawmakers in his Democratic-majority Senate and Republican-led House throughout the week of March 11.
Lawmakers plan to move forward this week on competing fiscal 2014 budget blueprints as the White House continues to push for a broader agreement that would help economic recovery.
“I don’t know whether we can come to a big agreement,” Boehner said in the ABC interview. “If we do, it’ll be between the two parties on Capitol Hill. Hopefully we can go to conference on these budgets, and hope springs eternal in my mind.”
But Sen. Amy Klobuchar, appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” was more optimistic. There is still time for Republicans to find common ground with the White House and congressional Democrats for a grand bargain on the deficit, she said.
“The American people will not stand for this anymore,” said the Minnesota Democrat of the fiscal stalemate that has blocked lawmakers from a deal.
The Senate budget proposal laid out last week by Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., would generate nearly $1 trillion in new revenue while protecting Medicare and expanding Medicaid health-care coverage for more low-income Americans. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., last week proposed a plan for balancing the government’s books in 10 years by cutting $4.6 trillion.
The Congressional Budget Office projects the economy will lose 750,000 jobs this year if the automatic spending cuts stay in effect through the Sept. 30 end of the federal fiscal year.