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Deficit deal: Boehner asks Obama, Where's your plan?

Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Fox News Channel Bret Baier 7-12-11

After weeks of fruitless negotiations on Republican ideas to cut federal spending and raise the legal debt ceiling, House Speaker John A. Boehner tonight called on President Obama to offer his plan.

Boehner told Bret Baier on Fox News Channel:

I think it is time for the president to put his plan on the table. Let the American people see just what the president is proposing. You can’t go out there and talk about some $4-trillion agreement to substantially change the fiscal situation here in Washington without any facts.

As both sides sought to insulate themselves politically by posturing through the media, the president appeared to raise the stakes of the debt deal talks by telling CBS News that he really couldn't guarantee that those important Social Security, veterans and other entitlement checks would go out after Aug. 2 if there's no agreement with those stubborn Republicans, who won't give ground on no tax increases.

Obama said: "I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on Aug. 3 if we haven’t resolved this issue because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it." (Note the wiggle word "may.")

Asked if he believed the president's check-withholding threat, Boehner said:

 

I don’t know what to believe. The Treasury secretary is going to have options in terms of who should be paid and who shouldn’t. Yes, there are some debts that have to be rolled over, but there is going to be money available on Aug. 3.

 

Boehner gave no indication of progress in today's round of talks with the White House. He added:

The big issue for today was Mr. Cantor and I, the majority leader of the House, really pressed the president for ‘Where is his plan?’ We have talked about a lot of possibilities. He and I had conversations for a couple weeks, but we have never really seen the whole plan and what they are really willing to do.

One of the problems we got into late last week, and it culminated on Saturday when I finally decided that working with them privately wasn’t working, is that they had some ideas but they never quite put them on paper.

They talk about making substantive reforms in the entitlement programs but never could quite get there. That and they were continuing to insist on us raising taxes.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Screen grab from Fox News, July 12.

 
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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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