Daley: GOP wants "their way or highway" on debt
White House Chief of Staff William Daley said Sunday that Republicans only want it "their way or the highway" when it comes to making a deal on raising the debt limit - despite what he described as Democrats' "serious commitment" to coming up with a bipartisan plan.
In an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," Daley contended that President Obama and leaders in Congress had been "extremely close" to a deal on Friday night, but that House Speaker John Boehner had abandoned negotiations rather than urge his party to agree to the bipartisan plan.
"The truth is, we were probably 85 percent there," Daley told CBS' Bob Schieffer. "There were different options on different items. Much of it related to what would be the best strategy to get the needed votes to pass this, because it was going to be very hard for Democrats with the amount of entitlement cuts...And at the same time, the Speaker was going to have to go to caucus and say, 'There is a need for revenue to solve our problem.' And that's where the breakdown happened."
"Speaker Boehner...walked away twice from a deal with the president which would have finally begun a serious attempt to cut spending," Daley added.
Boehner abandoned the negotiations Friday after accusing the president of having "moved the goal posts" by increasing the amount of revenue sought for deficit reduction by $400 billion.
Now Boehner says he hopes to introduce a framework for a deal on the debt limit later on Sunday. That framework would likely include a two-part plan with two debt limit increases.
Leading Democrats, however, have vowed to vote against a short-term debt limit, and such a proposal is unlikely to pass in the Senate.
Daley argued that Republicans - unlike Democrats - were not committed to a bipartisan solution.
"There should be a bipartisan agreement," Daley said. "Harry Reid has said that what the Speaker has spoken about so far will not pass the Senate. So they must sit down and work out a compromise. It is not 'my way or the highway.' This is not the way we run a government that's divided. But we should prove to the American people it's not dysfunctional."
Daley said a two-part proposal such as that which Boehner will likely propose could lead to economic uncertainty - and that "the markets of the world do not want to watch this show again in six months."
"There is a way that we can avoid default and give certainty to this economy for a longer period than five months," he said. "The Congress cannot seem to get its act together in order to do serious budget reform."
Daley warned, too, that the American people - and the global stock markets - might have "a stressful few days" coming up in the event that the Congress fails to agree on a plan by the end of Sunday.
"I think it remains an uncertain situation, to be frank with you, to try to guess what the markets are going to do," Daley said, when asked what he thought would happen if an agreement wasn't reached before Asian markets opened on Monday. "We may have a few stressful days coming up, and stressful for the markets of the world and the American people. But in the end there's no question in my mind the government of America will not default."
"This is the responsibility of Congress," he added. "In the end, the Congress must pass this. It is their responsibility to extend the debt ceiling. So my sense is that in the end they will act."
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