(Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty…)
President Obama takes his case for a sweeping deficit-reduction deal to the public this morning, holding a morning news conference in advance of a meeting with Republicans to try to break the logjam over raising the federal debt limit.
Hours after negotiations went sour over the weekend, Obama announced that he would take questions from the White House press corps for the second time in two weeks, as he ramps up his use of the presidential podium in the thick of summer talks.
Just three weeks remain before the federal government hits its borrowing limit. If Congress hasn't voted to raise the limit by Aug. 2, Treasury Department officials warn, the country is headed into a default that could spell catastrophe for the national and world economy.
The parties seemed to be moving toward what they called a "grand bargain" that would cut $4 trillion from federal deficits over the next decade, coming mostly from spending cuts but partly from tax increases. But House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called Obama on Saturday and told him that such a thing couldn’t pass in that chamber. He suggested working toward a smaller deal.
But Obama wasn't content to accept that setback on Sunday, telling leaders in an afternoon meeting at the White House that they should think big and tackle the difficult tasks of spending cuts, tax revenues and entitlement reform in one big, brave deal.
This morning, he'll take his case to the cameras in hopes of pressuring Republicans to work toward a deal.