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Posted at 3:50 PM ET, 03/ 2/2011

Obama becomes more involved in budget negotiations

By Perry Bacon Jr.

Updated, 3:50 p.m.
The White House is trying to more directly engage in budget talks on Capitol Hill, after taking criticism from both parties for not doing enough to avert an impasse.

As a two-week stopgap spending plan was passed in the Senate on Wednesday, Obama called for Vice President Biden and other top advisers to meet with congressional leaders to negotiate an agreement on a longer-term deal.

After being vague about exactly what a compromise would look like, the White House in the last two days has criticized the kind of short-term resolution that Congress approved this week, even calling for a measure that would cut $8 billion but fund the government for a month.

"We cannot keep doing business this way.," Obama said in a statement. "Living with the threat of a shutdown every few weeks is not responsible, and it puts our economic progress in jeopardy."

His shift comes after House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Monday that Obama should have done more. And on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sidestepped a question about whether the administration had been doing enough before this week.

"I'm glad they're in it now," he said of the negotiating process.

White House officials privately do not believe a government shutdown would be a political boon to them as it was for President Clinton in the 1990s. They expect both parties would be blamed for the disruption and it would hurt the economy, which they view as the biggest concern for most Americans and for next year's elections.

A Washington Post poll released this week found that 36 percent of those surveyed said Republicans would be at fault if the two sides cannot reach a budget deal in time to avert a shutdown, and 35 percent say primary responsibility would rest with the Obama administration.

But until this week, they had not offered many details about their views of the budget negotiations. Facing criticism, White House officials took the unusual step of telling reporters on Tuesday the president had spoken to Boehner about the budget challenges.

By Perry Bacon Jr.  | March 2, 2011; 3:50 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

How budget cuts are implemented should not be argued about, but should be evenly distributed on a % basis to all sources of Fed spending.

Posted by: flyfshr1cd | March 3, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

The Dems could have and should have created a budget 3 or 4 months ago. Obama is just now starting to get involved? Look everyone knows why the Dems put it off and refused to do their job. Do they really think that flee and hide will get them and Obama a second term? I chose to think that the majority of Americans are not that stupid.

Posted by: Loxinabox | March 3, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

How budget cuts are implemented should not be argued about, but should be evenly distributed on a % basis to all sources of Fed spending.

Posted by: flyfshr1cd | March 3, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Obama can easily balance the budget by carrying out his twin campaign promises to raise taxes on those earning more than 250k a year, and eliminating the tax free passes for offshore businesses.

Posted by: flyfshr1cd | March 3, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Obama has to get involved so that the Dem's will coalesce around any cuts at all and the Republicans not coalesce around cuts that cuts jobs and further weakens the economy.

Truth is that this Congress - Rep., Dem. or Ind. - is beyond dysfunctional: it can't function as required. If this bi-partisan polarized state of mind in the nation does not end soon we will either flounder into oblivion or head into another Civil War.

Posted by: Tell-the-Truth-Please | March 2, 2011 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Obama said in a statement that " Living with the threat of a shutdown every few weeks is not responsible, and it puts our economic progress in jeopardy." It takes a lot of audacity to call Congress irresponsible when you take into fact what the president has done to cripple our economy.

Whom does President Obama think he is convincing that he is concerned about our economic progress being in jeopardy? Obama’s budget for next year is 3.7 TRILLION and adds 7 TRILLION to the national debt over the next ten years. Currently we are spending 600 MILLION a day on just the interest of our debt.

It appears obvious that the Republicans have successfully changed the subject from spending to cutting the budget.

Posted by: takebackamerica1 | March 2, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Earth to Obama, stop spending stupid.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | March 2, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

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