Mike Needham
After the collapse of the Biden-led debt talks, President Obama is stepping in. On Monday, the President will meet separately with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

And you guessed, those meetings will take place behind closed doors, just like the failed Biden negotiations. Republicans should reject these secret talks and demand all negotiations regarding the debt ceiling take place in public.

This is not a novel idea.

In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama pledged his proposed health care overhaul (which incidentally did not include an individual mandate) would be different from those of the past. He told Americans, “That's what I will do in bringing all parties together, not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are."

Then-Senator Obama was right. Americans deserve to see what the choices are and where their elected officials stand. Apparently, now that he has made the White House his residence, his views have changed.

In this case, the President’s closed-door meetings are an effort to save face because he has no choice to present to concerned Americans. Think about the President’s February budget proposal, or lack thereof. It failed to include any of the substantive reforms put forth by his own deficit commission. Erskine Bowles, who chaired that commission, said the President’s budget goes “nowhere near where [it] will have to go to resolve our fiscal nightmare.”

A presidential budget is supposed to represent the foundation of an administration’s policy agenda. This administration is simply unwilling to reveal their policy agenda.

In April, House Republicans passed a bold and detailed budget plan, President Obama asked for a redo. In a speech, he laid out some vague ideas to what a budget should look like. But it wasn’t a start to negotiations, it was just a speech. As Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf said, “We don’t estimate speeches. We need much more specificity then was provided in that speech for us to do our analysis.”

Of course, President Obama is not the only liberal in Washington derelict in his duty. His former Senate colleagues have not passed a budget in 789 days. In fact, Senator Reid said it would be “foolish” for his party to propose a budget.

It is extremely difficult to negotiate in good faith when your counterpart has shown no desire to put forward a plan. In the interest of saving America for our children and grandchildren, let’s lay out their position for them.


Mike Needham

Mike Needham is the Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Action for America, a grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to advancing legislation that promotes freedom, opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.