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Obama backs Reid plan, will address nation on debt debate

July 25, 2011|By Christi Parsons | Washington Bureau
(Alex Wong/Getty Images )

Reporting from Washington   — President Obama backs the plan coming Monday from Senate Democrats to head off the debt crisis, even though it may not contain the "balanced" mix of spending cuts and tax revenues for which he has been pressing.

Obama plans to address the nation at 9 p.m. Monday to talk about the stalemate and is expected to discuss the contending plans arising in Congress and the need to act on one of them.

A statement from Obama's press secretary Monday afternoon voiced support for the plan from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, calling it a "reasonable approach" that both parties in both chambers should be able to support.

All the cuts put forward by Reid were agreed to by both parties during the talks led by Vice President Joe Biden earlier this summer, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Also, Reid’s plan would meet Republican demands that the debt ceiling only be raised by as many trillions of dollars as it would cut, Carney said.

The plan does not include new taxes or revenues, which the president has always insisted must be part of a big deal. As recently as Monday afternoon, in a luncheon speech, Obama was talking about the importance of a "balanced approach."

But faced with a "my way or the highway" approach unveiled by Republicans Monday, Carney said, Reid came up with a "responsible compromise that cuts spending in a way that protects critical investments and does not harm the economic recovery."

And the president hopes House Republicans will go along with it, according to the White House.

"The plan would make a meaningful down payment in addressing our fiscal challenge," Carney said, "and we could continue to work together to build on it with a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes additional spending reforms and closing tax loopholes for corporations, millionaires and billionaires."

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