Monday, January 14

President Obama's First Term Recap Press Conference (Transcript) Part 2

Join our Facebook page by clicking here!

President Obama's First Term Recap Press Conference
White House - East Room
January 14th 2013
Transcript Continued Part II
Q    You just outlined an entire rationale for why this can't happen.
Q    And if -- then if -- and you're not negotiating on the debt ceiling.
Q    So you're not negotiating and they say you have to negotiate, and you're not considering another plan B, then do you just wait it out and we do go -- we do see all these things happen?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well look, Chuck, there are -- there's a pretty straightforward way of doing this and that is to set the debt ceiling aside, we pay our bills, and then we have a vigorous debate about how we're going to do further deficit reduction in a balanced way.
Keep in mind that what we've heard from some Republicans in both the House and the Senate is that they will only increase the debt ceiling by the amount of spending cuts that they're able to push through and -- in order to replace the automatic spending cuts of the sequester -- that's $1.2 trillion.  Say it takes another trillion or trillion-two to get us through one more year, they'd have to identify $2.5 trillion in cuts just to get the debt ceiling extended to next year -- $2.5 trillion. 
They can't even -- Congress has not been able to identify $1.2 trillion in cuts that they're happy with.  Because these same Republicans say they don’t want to cut defense; they've claimed that they don't want to gut Medicare or harm the vulnerable.  But the truth of the matter is that you can't meet their own criteria without drastically cutting Medicare, or having an impact on Medicaid, or affecting our defense spending. So the math just doesn’t add up.
Now, here’s what would work.  What would work would be for us to say we’ve already done close to $2 trillion in deficit reduction, and if you add the interest that we won’t be paying because of less spending and increased revenue, it adds up to about $2.5 trillion.  The consensus is we need about $4 trillion to stabilize our debt and our deficit, which means we need about $1.5 trillion more.  The package that I offered to Speaker Boehner before we -- before the New Year would achieve that.  We were actually fairly close in terms of arriving at that number.
So if the goal is to make sure that we are being responsible about our debt and our deficit, if that’s the conversation we’re having, I’m happy to have that conversation.  And by closing some additional loopholes through tax reform -- which Speaker Boehner has acknowledged can raise money in a sensible way -- and by doing some additional cuts, including making sure that we are reducing our health care spending, which is the main driver of our deficits, we can arrive at a package that gets this thing done. 
I’m happy to have that conversation.  What I will not do is to have that negotiation with a gun at the head of the American people -- the threat that “unless we get our way, unless you gut Medicare or Medicaid, or otherwise slash things that the American people don’t believe should be slashed, that we’re going to threaten to wreck the entire economy.”  That is not how historically this has been done.  That’s not how we’re going to do it this time.
Q    No plan B?  You're not searching for any other --
THE PRESIDENT:  Chuck, what I’m saying to you is that there is no simpler solution, no ready, credible solution, other than Congress either give me the authority to raise the debt ceiling, or exercise the responsibility that they have kept for themselves and raise the debt ceiling.  Because this is about paying your bills.
Everybody here understands this.  I mean, this is not a complicated concept.  You don’t go out to dinner and then eat all you want, and then leave without paying the check.  And if you do, you’re breaking the law.  And Congress should think about it the same way that the American people do.  You don’t -- now, if Congress wants to have a debate about maybe we shouldn’t go out to dinner next time, maybe we should go to a more modest restaurant, that’s fine.  That’s a debate that we should have.  But you don’t say, in order for me to control my appetites, I’m going to not pay the people who already provided me services, people who already lent me the money.  That’s not showing any discipline.  All that’s doing is not meeting your obligations.  You can’t do that.
And that’s not a credible way to run this government.  We’ve got to stop lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis, when there’s this clear path ahead of us that simply requires some discipline, some responsibility and some compromise.  That’s where we need to go.  That’s how this needs to work.
Major Garrett.
Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  As you well know, sir, finding votes for the debt ceiling can sometimes be complicated.
You, yourself, as a member of the Senate, voted against a debt ceiling increase.  And in previous aspects of American history -- President Reagan in 1985, President George Herbert Walker Bush in 1990, President Clinton in 1997 -- all signed deficit reduction deals that were contingent upon or in the context of raising the debt ceiling.  You, yourself, four times have done that.  Three times, those were related to deficit reduction or budget maneuvers. 
What Chuck and I and I think many people are curious about is this new, adamant desire on your part not to negotiate, when that seems to conflict with the entire history in the modern era of American Presidents and the debt ceiling, and your own history on the debt ceiling.  And doesn’t that suggest that we are going to go into a default situation because no one is talking to each other about how to resolve this?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, no, Major, I think if you look at the history, getting votes for the debt ceiling is always difficult, and budgets in this town are always difficult.  I went through this just last year.  But what’s different is we never saw a situation as we saw last year in which certain groups in Congress took such an absolutist position that we came within a few days of defaulting.  And the fact of the matter is, is that we have never seen the debt ceiling used in this fashion, where the notion was, you know what, we might default unless we get 100 percent of what we want.  That hasn’t happened.
Now, as I indicated before, I’m happy to have a conversation about how we reduce our deficits further in a sensible way.  Although one thing I want to point out is that the American people are also concerned about how we grow our economy, how we put people back to work, how we make sure that we finance our workers getting properly trained and our schools are giving our kids the education we deserve.  There’s a whole growth agenda which will reduce our deficits that’s important as well.
But what you’ve never seen is the notion that has been presented, so far at least, by the Republicans that deficit reduction -- we’ll only count spending cuts; that we will raise the deficit -- or the debt ceiling dollar for dollar on spending cuts.  There are a whole set of rules that have been established that are impossible to meet without doing severe damage to the economy. 
And so what we’re not going to do is put ourselves in a position where in order to pay for spending that we’ve already incurred, that our two options are we’re either going to profoundly hurt the economy and hurt middle-class families and hurt seniors and hurt kids who are trying to go to college, or, alternatively, we’re going to blow up the economy.  We’re not going to do that.
Q    (Inaudible) -- open to a one-to-three-month extension to the debt ceiling -- whatever Congress sends you, you’re okay with it?
THE PRESIDENT:  No, not whatever Congress sends me.  They’re going to have to send me something that’s sensible.  And we shouldn’t be doing this --
Q    -- (inaudible) --
THE PRESIDENT:  -- and we shouldn’t be doing this on a one to three-month timeframe.  Why would we do that?  This is the United States of America, Major.  What, we can’t manage our affairs in such a way that we pay our bills and we provide some certainty in terms of how we pay our bills? 
Look, I don’t think anybody would consider my position unreasonable here.  I have --
Q    But why does it presuppose the need to negotiate and talk about this on a daily basis?  Because if default is the biggest threat to the economy, why not talk about it --
THE PRESIDENT:  Major, I am happy to have a conversation about how we reduce our deficits.  I’m not going to have a monthly or every-three-months conversation about whether or not we pay our bills.  Because that in and of itself does severe damage.  Even the threat of default hurts our economy.  It’s hurting our economy as we speak.  We shouldn’t be having that debate. 
If we want to have a conversation about how to reduce our deficit, let’s have that.  We’ve been having that for the last two years.  We just had an entire campaign about it.  And by the way, the American people agreed with me that we should reduce our deficits in a balanced way that also takes into account the need for us to grow this economy and put people back to work.
And despite that conversation, and despite the election results, the position that’s been taken on the part of some House Republicans is that, “no, we’ve got to do it our way, and if we don’t, we simply won’t pay America’s bills.”  Well, that can’t be a position that is sustainable over time.  It’s not one that's good for the economy now.  It's certainly not going to be the kind of precedent that I want to establish not just for my presidency, but for future Presidents, even if it was on the other side.
Democrats don't like voting for the debt ceiling when a Republican is President, and yet you -- but you never saw a situation in which Democrats suggested somehow that we would go ahead and default if we didn't get 100 percent of our way.  That's just not how it's supposed to work. 
Jon Karl.
Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  On the issue of guns, given how difficult it will be -- some would say impossible -- to get any gun control measure passed through this Congress, what are you willing or able to do, using the powers of your presidency, to act without Congress?  And I'd also like to know, what do you make of these long lines we're seeing at gun shows and gun stores all around the country?  I mean, even in Connecticut, applications for guns are up since the shooting in Newtown.
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, my understanding is the Vice President is going to provide a range of steps that we can take to reduce gun violence.  Some of them will require legislation.  Some of them I can accomplish through executive action.  And so I'll be reviewing those today.  And as I said, I'll speak in more detail to what we're going to go ahead and propose later in the week.
But I'm confident that there are some steps that we can take that don't require legislation and that are within my authority as President.  And where you get a step that has the opportunity to reduce the possibility of gun violence then I want to go ahead and take it. 
Q    Any idea of what kind of steps?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think, for example, how we are gathering data, for example, on guns that fall into the hands of criminals, and how we track that more effectively -- there may be some steps that we can take administratively as opposed through legislation. 
Continue Reading the Transcript
Watch the video 
Download the video in  mp4 | Download the audio in mp3 
585649_Join Zipcar and receive $25 in free driving with code GOZIP25 thru 11/8

Join the conversation and post your thoughts in the comments! Read the 1461 Comment Guidelines.

1461 is now being read by over 1,000,000 People and growing everyday! Help the 1461 continue to Grow and spread the truth - invite your friends and family to join the 1461 and learn the truth rather than BS! Join our Facebook page by clicking here!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Welcome to the 1461. Join the conversation.
If this is your first visit - read the Comment Guidelines

Remember you have a Constitutionally protected right to anonymous political free speech, not a free pass to be an ass.