July 12th, 2011
07:36 PM ET

Taxes, Social Security fears cited in debt ceiling talks

Washington (CNN) - Partisan warfare over the looming debt ceiling crisis escalated Tuesday as GOP leaders once again refused to consider any tax hikes and President Barack Obama warned that, absent a deal, he can't guarantee older Americans will continue receiving Social Security checks next month.

"There may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," Obama said, according to excerpts of a CBS News interview scheduled to air Tuesday night.

"We can't guarantee - if there were a default - any specific bill would be paid," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Top lawmakers from both sides of the aisle met with Obama for almost two hours at the White House later Tuesday, and another session was scheduled for Wednesday, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia.

Cantor also said Obama presented more details of his proposed cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicare, and that Republicans support what they heard. However, Cantor reiterated GOP opposition to higher taxes, which is the main sticking point to a deal.

Administration officials have warned that a failure to raise the current $14.3 trillion ceiling by August 2 could trigger a partial default. If Washington lacks the money to meet its bills, interest rates could skyrocket and the value of the dollar could decline, among other things.

Negotiators have been debating trillions of dollars in possible savings over the next decade, a response to GOP demands for significant spending cuts in exchange for any debt ceiling increase. Democrats are furious, however, that Republicans refuse to consider any tax hikes as part of a deal.

In the CBS interview, Obama noted that former President Ronald Reagan compromised on increasing tax revenue, and wondered why Republicans today remain so adamantly opposed.

"The question is, if Ronald Reagan could compromise, why wouldn't folks who idolize Ronald Reagan be willing to engage in those same kinds of compromises," Obama said.

In addition to ruling out tax increases, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has also said overall spending cuts must exceed the size of any debt ceiling increase, and that new restraints must be imposed on future spending.

"One hundred percent of the problem is on the spending side," Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a member of the GOP leadership, said Tuesday morning.

Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said he has lost any hopes of a "grand bargain" with the White House.

"As long as this president is in the Oval Office a real solution (to the country's fiscal problems) is unattainable," McConnell said. Obama "will do almost anything to protect the size and the scope of Washington, D.C.'s burgeoning bureaucracy."

For their part, Democrats also dug in their heels.

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soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Roletta

    I disagree with the threats of all these checks not going out. All the debt the Government built thoughout all these years I fell everyone around the government table should not be paid and their income is to go towards the debt they created and let them live in worry about where their next meal is coming from and pay their bills. It pisses me off when I see oil prices going down BUt gas is still going up.

    July 13, 2011 at 1:33 am |
  2. Bruce Wyatt

    Why do we only hear about what the Government wants to cut from the "American Tax Payer" We have "Illegals" and other Immigrants that have never paid into S.S. and/or SSDI that are collecting "Benefits" Rich people that don't need this benefit collect it. Citizenship / Financial Need ? If we can't afford to take care of our own people, how then can we justify the 100's of Billions of "Our Tax Dollars" that are virtually being "Given Away" to Foreign Governments, most of whom, hate U.S. Our Governments "Let them eat cake" attitude is proof positive of it's being totally disconnected from the "People" Mr. President; I say that Americans should come FIRST !

    July 12, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  3. Bev M

    Lets not send money to countries that want to kill us, and send it to the seniors and veterans of the USA.

    July 12, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  4. John Hilderbrand

    Anderson – How about a fact check? I have heard most of the Republican candidates and several in the house and senate (including John Baner and John McCain) state that “what we have is a spending problem…not a revenue problem.” Is that really true? Logic tells me that if we have 7 plus million more unemployed today than 3 years ago and a lot who are now underemployed, the revenue stream must be less! I think a chart showing US revenue over the last 3 to 5 years – all the way up to June would be helpful for Americans to understand reality – in place of the Babbling BS coming from the Republicans. Whenever you can’t get a group in the house to agree, it is likely they are asking for things they can’t back up.

    July 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  5. ruth hankins

    May I suggest that in the event our lawmakers are unable to reach an agreement on the debt ceiling and budget, that the first checks to be withheld (as our elected "representatives" seem unable to do their jobs) be their own. Take away their healthcare, and their benefits before you take my 90 year old mother's only income, or military pay for those brave souls defending our country. It is ludicrous that republicans hold hostage the entire country. It appears they have forgotten they are americans first, and members of a political persuasion second. Or perhaps they are not.

    July 12, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  6. gary

    simple, the republicans gave big corporations and the highest wage earners 14 trillion in americas revenue, by tax cuts, this went to about 30 million people, the other 300,000,000 are now being handed the bill, and mugged at the same time.

    history shows this is a disaster about to happen

    July 12, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  7. gary

    the same republicans that were the architects of the 10 trillion tax gift to the highest wage earners are now saying, the 300,000,000 americans who did not benifit now have to pay the bill. the solution is simple ryan, boener, mcconnel, republican members of congress and tea partiers, you gave 14 trillion away, now it is time to ask for it back from the people you gave it too. i support a republican budget, eisenhower, to even reagan

    do the republicans actions, putting our nation at risk of collapse criminal. let the ceiling expire, the middle class will suffer the same as with the republican budget, let the people who created the problem suffer, then give the u.s icitizens its money back

    July 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  8. gary

    the republican tax cuts for the rich since the reagan revolution with interest is about 14 trillion, there is the debt solution.
    The corporations , banks, oil companies, and the highest income earners, pay back the 14 trillion the republicans gifted them, plus the 14 trillion they should have paid in the past.

    July 12, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  9. gary

    The debt issue is simple, the republicans gave the wealthy about 14 trillion in tax cuts, and now want the 14 trillion bill to be paid by the middle class, the republicans owe the american people (28+ trillion)
    I think we should let the debt ceiling to expire, the 300,000,00 americans, the middle class, will be affected mainly in the same way if the debt ceiling expires, or if the republicans budget becomes law.

    If the debt ceiling expires, the republicans, and the big business and wealthy they continue to give the governments resources as WEALTHY WELFARE. Let them eat cake.

    i say we go with a republican tax schedule, eisenhower, through even reagan, with some tweaks. republicans say no big government so we can have a fiscal policy for the people, republicans want Big corporations, so it is a country for the few, on the backs of the rest of us.

    the reagan revolution, was the start of class genocide towards the middle class.
    when do the criminal trials start.

    July 12, 2011 at 7:36 pm |