Something's Gotta' Give

Posted: Jun 30, 2011 1:28 PM

During his press conference yesterday afternoon, President Obama called upon Congress to “do their job” and “get it done” in reaching a budget deal before we default on our national debt in early August. The Senate responded by canceling their normal July 4th holiday recess, and this morning Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell shot back on the Senate floor, inviting the President to come on over and show ‘em how it’s done:

I want to know: Is there a single member of Congress — Democrat or Republican — who thinks it's a good idea to raise hundreds of billions in new job-killing taxes at a time when 14 million Americans are out of work? If so, I haven't heard from any of them.

But that's what the president was trying to defend yesterday.

Who really thinks that the answer to a $1.6 trillion deficit is a second stimulus, that the answer is more deficit spending? Where in the world did that idea come from?

That's what the president was trying to defend yesterday. ...

The president doesn't seem to get it. So let me do something that I think would be constructive.

I'd like to invite the president to come to the Capitol today to join Republicans for lunch, or at any time this afternoon that he can make it. That way he can hear directly from Republicans why what he's proposing won't pass. And we can start talking about what's actually possible.

The president says he wants us to get working. I can't think of a better way than to have him come over and hear directly from our conference about the legislative realities in the Congress right now.

So, did the White House jump at the chance to school those frivolous, ill-behaved Senators on budget negotiations? Not according to Reuters:

The White House effectively turned down an invitation by Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for President Barack Obama to visit his members on Capitol Hill on Thursday to discuss raising the debt limit.

White House press secretary Jay Carney, while not directly saying the invitation had been rejected, said Obama did not need to hear Republicans tell him what they would not support.

That, Carney said, was "not a conversation worth having."

Well, that was mature.

As my colleague Elisabeth pointed out, the White House may not be interested in listening to Republicans propose more spending cuts - but they can rest assured that the door swings both ways on that one. Republicans are surely equally weary of listening to the President's continued droning on about tax hikes for those naughty oil companies and millionaires.