Obama: There Are 'Plenty Of Ways Out Of This Mess'
In brief remarks at the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, President Obama said there were "plenty of ways out of this mess."
He said while Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) plan "has no chance of becoming law," there are plenty of ways to amend plans by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) or Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to get one of them approved by both chambers.
The president said the fact is that Republicans and Democrats are "not miles apart" from a compromise. He said both parties agree that there needs to be cuts made to the deficit, but lawmakers, he said, need to come to a resolution soon.
This is a burden that lawmakers can lift with a single vote, which Congress has been making for decades, the president said.
He said while some members of the Republican caucus have been resisting a tax increase, a default would essentially mean a tax increase on everyone.
Note: We've moved things around and re-written the top of this blog post to reflect the news. Also we blogged the president's remarks as they happened. You'll find those updates below.
Update at 12:07 p.m. ET. Full Audio Of President's Remarks:
Our original post:
Update at 10:40 a.m. ET: Keep Pressure On Washington:
Obama, again, asks Americans to contact their lawmakers. He says the time for putting party ahead of country is over. "It's important that everyone step up."
Update at 10:39 a.m. ET: "The Power To Solve This Is In Our Hands:"
President Obama says this is a burden that lawmakers can lift with a single vote that Congress has been making for decades. This vote does not mean it authorizes more spending, he says. It just pays for what "we've already authorized."
Update at 10:38 a.m. ET: Not Miles Apart:
The president says there are "plenty of ways out of this mess." That both parties agree that cuts have to be made.
Update at 10:37 a.m. ET: Boehner Plan Does Not Solve Problem:
Obama says Boehner's plan will just make us relive this debate all over again in six months. A solution has to be bipartisan.
Obama says the Reid plan or the Mitch McConnell (R-KY) plan can be a starting point. He says there are plenty of changes that can be made to those plans to get them passed in both houses.
Update at 10:33 a.m. ET: Stayed Tuned
The news conference is running late. By the way, if you want to watch the conference live, the cable news channels will be carrying it live and so will CSpan.org.
Update at 10:24 a.m. ET: So Where Do We Stand?
Here we are: four days away from when the U.S. Treasury says the country will not be able to pay its bills unless Congress raises the debt ceiling. As we reported, yesterday Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) spent his day arm twisting and negotiating one-on-one with his own caucus and ended up calling it a night without a vote on his budget plan.
So where do we stand?
-- Boehner is reworking his plan today to try and shore up enough votes to get it passed in the House. NPR's Ari Shapiro reported this morning that one of the problems freshmen members of the House backed by the Tea Party had with Boehner's bill is that it included $17 billion in Pell grants, which help students pay for college tuition.
-- Senator Harry Reid (R-NV) and the White House have said they don't support Boehner's plan because it increases the debt ceiling in a two-step process. In other words, the debt ceiling debate would happen all over again in six months.
-- President Obama, who pulled out all the stops last week with press conferences and town halls, will take the spotlight again with his first public comments since a prime-time speech on Monday. He's scheduled to address the status of the discussions at 10:20 am ET. We'll live blog his remarks here.