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Tipsheet

Edging Ever-Closer to an Actual Budget Deal? Maybe?

After what seems an eon of endless iterations of "we have got to stop kicking this can down the road," it might be reasonable to think that, what with the Senate cancelling their midsummers' vacay and an apparent national default less than a month away, we might want to - you know - actually stop kicking the can down the road and solve this thing. Easier said than done, of course, as both parties are as-yet standing firm on their at-odds commitments (Republicans for deep spending cuts, Democrats for trivial tax hikes).

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In a quick status update this evening, the President (once again employing the "stop kicking the can down the road" rhetoric) asked both parties to convene at the White House on Thursday for budget negotiations and to "leave ultimatums at the door."

Obama made a rare appearance in the White House briefing room Tuesday afternoon to announce the top-level talks and to deflate proposals for a short-term budget deal to avert a showdown over the debt ceiling limit without resolving the larger disputes about whether increased tax revenues should be part of any long-term agreement. The proposals have been gaining attention in recent days.

Obama, who declined to take any questions after his four-minute statement, said the public would be troubled if “both parties simply take the path of least resistance.”

As recently as April, the White House was pushing to decouple long-term budget talks from extending the debt ceiling—which the administration says will cause some obligations to go unpaid beginning on August 2 if Congress does not act.

Huh. Separating the debt ceiling from budget reform, and the constant implementation of class warfare tactics to malign successful people and avoid making the painful but necessary changes with 2012 approaching, sounds a lot like kicking the can down the road to me. Speaker Boehner apparently didn't hear much to be optimistic about either:

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House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner is likely to attend a Thursday White House meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the debt limit but is skeptical that it will bear fruit, an aide said on Tuesday.

"He expects to go but questions the usefulness of the meeting," the aide said.

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