President Obama today made clear that he plans to pocket tax increases he extracted from Congress earlier this month and double down for more, asserting that further deficit reduction must include a “balanced” approach that raises taxes by closing “loopholes.”
Obama, who spoke today during an East Room press conference, minimized the need to reduce spending on entitlements, saying that he would consider “modest” changes to Medicare. And he vowed to continue spending, suggesting that getting control of the deficit is necessary to maintain funding for priorities like education and worker training.
Obama said a combination of tax increases and cuts to health spending could achieve sufficient deficit reduction.
The president was adamant that he would not negotiate with Congress over an increase in the debt ceiling, characterizing a failure to raise the spending limit as neglecting to “pay for spending that we have already incurred,” not future spending.
“We’re not going to do that,” Obama said.
The president appeared to rule out – though he didn’t absolutely do so – taking for himself the responsibility for raising the debt ceiling, saying Congress would have to grant him that authority.’
Democratic leaders in Congress have been urging Obama to raise the debt ceiling on his own, saying the Constitution allows it even though Congress is responsible for spending.