White House firm on long-term debt deal

Chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell asked White House Press Secretary on Tuesday, if President Obama is willing to sign a debt ceiling increase that excludes new tax revenues.

With the August 2nd deadline to raise the debt limit looming, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated on Wednesday the White House's position that a short term extension is out of the question.

President Obama has repeatedly made it clear that he has no intention to sign a deal that would raise the debt ceiling for only six or seven months.

CBS News' chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell pointed out in Carney's Wednesday press briefing, however, that a number of past presidents have signed similar short-term deals.

"Wouldn't a six- or seven-month extension really be an average for what most presidents have signed?" asked O'Donnell. "I know the president's talked a lot about Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan signed three of them during his re-election in 1984. So why is President Obama asking for something very different than any other president got from Congress? "

"Well, because we've never been in a situation like this before," Carney responded. "Where a Congress has decided that there should be a dollar-for-dollar correlation between deficit reduction, spending cuts -- actually, spending cuts -- not just deficit reduction, spending cuts, and the amount by which they will raise the debt ceiling."

Carney also scoffed at claims that the Obama administration is looking to extend the debt ceiling through 2013 to avoid thwarting the president's re-election chances in 2012.

"It's not about the re-election," he said, "The issue here is the effect on the economy."

Carney told reporters that solving the debt ceiling crisis now, rather than resuming debates in six or seven months, is in the best interest of the country.

"It gets a lot harder to do hard things in an election year," he said.

  • Maeve Coyle

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