Obama sees 'progress' in budget talks

AP News
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Posted: Jun 13, 2011 7:11 PM
Obama sees 'progress' in budget talks

President Barack Obama said Monday that there has been progress in budget talks to find spending cuts to accompany legislation allowing the government to continue to borrow to finance its operations and avoid defaulting on U.S. bonds.

The president also said in an interview with NBC's "Today" that he's "absolutely confident" that a budget agreement can be achieved in talks led by Vice President Joe Biden and that an agreement won't require radical change if "everybody makes some sacrifices."

"I am absolutely confident that we can move forward on a plan that gets our debt under control, gets our deficit under control," Obama said in an interview to air Tuesday morning. "There is a way of solving this problem that doesn't require any big, radical changes. What it does require is everybody makes some sacrifices."

The Biden-led talks are paving the way for a higher-level negotiation that will involve Obama and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who's representing House Republicans in the talks, said Monday that it's possible to find trillions of dollars in spending cuts so that lawmakers wouldn't have to revisit the politically poisonous topic before next year's elections.

Cantor and Boehner are insisting that the amount of deficit savings exceed the accompanying increase in the nation's debt limit. It would take a $2.5 trillion or so borrowing increase to keep the government afloat until early 2013.

Biden has only said that it's looking like the negotiations will produce more than $1 trillion, and he pressed Republicans last week to consider revenue increases such as limiting the value of tax deductions taken by the wealthy. That's a non-starter with Republicans.

The negotiators face an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the so-called debt limit. The group's seventh session is slated for Tuesday.

"We've seen some progress," Obama said.