Compromise and What Next?: Today’s Q’s for O’s WH -- 7/28/11

TAPPER: Republicans in the House say that they're voting for a compromise, Speaker Boehner's bill is a compromise.

CARNEY: And what is the compromise that is inside of it?

TAPPER: Well, I don't speak for them --

CARNEY: Right. But I'm just curious.

TAPPER: -- but I can tell you that they say that it doesn't cut as much as they want; it raises the debt ceiling; it does a number of things that they're not in favor of. They would like deeper cuts, and some members of Congress obviously don't want to raise the debt ceiling at all. So if that is their attitude, why are you confident that Speaker Boehner can compromise anymore? The president has spoken extensively about the difficulty Boehner has with his caucus.

CARNEY: We're confident because, Jake, we believe that the American people have made clear that they want a compromise. They are so frustrated by what they see as dysfunction here, as unnecessary fighting over issues that could be and should be easily resolved. They want to see Washington work on the problems that affect them directly. They don't want to see Washington, because of partisan and political posturing, do things that actually hurt them economically. And there is no question that if Congress does not compromise and does not act, that allowing the United States to default for the first time in its history would have severe economic consequences and could -- everyone, every family that owns a home and has a mortgage would be affected. Every American who has a car and a car payment would be affected -- a student loan, a credit card. And that's just the beginning of the -- of the terrible consequences for individuals.

TAPPER: But all these facts have been true for months.

CARNEY: Well, that is -- well, and Congress has a way of waiting until the last minute to do the right thing. We remain confident that it will. Now look, I mean, they've said a lot of other things. They -- if they think is compromise, they said, as we've heard today, let's stick it to him or let's -- you know, let's -- you know, the speaker of the House said yesterday that his alleged bipartisan compromise bill is hated by the president, hated by the minority leader in the House and hated by the majority and leader in the Senate. I think that demonstrates their view on whether or not this is a compromise. The truth of the matter is that it's not, and they've been quite clear about it. Look, politics is part of this town. We understand that, we participate in it, and we -- and some of these things happen because they have to happen -- part of the political process. But we are now at a moment where those Americans who were elected to represent people in their home districts and states need to decide, you know, about, you know, what is the greater good here. Is it holding out to get exactly what you want, holding out for a bill, by the way, that creates a mechanism that would force the adoption of draconian cuts more severe than are in the Ryan budget that was rejected already by Congress and overwhelmingly opposed by the American people, or is it a compromise where nobody gets everything they want, but the cloud of uncertainty on our economy is lifted and we make some significant cuts in our deficit and set up a mechanism to do even more? I think that is the compromise that people are looking for, and I believe, we believe, the president believes that in the end that's the compromise we will get.

TAPPER: Isn't the Boehner bill better than nothing?

CARNEY: We don't believe that nothing is -- that's a false choice. Nothing is not what will be the alternative here. Compromise will be the alternative. Everyone in this town -- rather, everyone who is elected in this town -- is on the hook for the economy. Everyone will have to answer to his or her constituents about what they did, where were they when decisions were made about whether or not to allow the United States to default, whether or not to allow everybody's interest rates to go up, whether or not to allow a situation that would severely impact the ability of the economy to create jobs. And I think, in the end, enough members of Congress of both parties will say we have to do the right thing here, even if it's not the ideal thing, and they will get it done.

TAPPER: Is there any negotiation going on specifically between Vice President Biden and the Senate Republican leader about what happens when and if the Senate rejects the Boehner bill? What happens then?

CARNEY: Well, the Senate will reject the Boehner bill. But the -- as has been made clear by not just Democrats but a number of Republicans who reject the Boehner bill in the Senate, so --

TAPPER: Because it's too liberal?

CARNEY: They reject it, OK? So there is no question that this bill is a political act. It has no life beyond its current existence in the House. We are having conversations at every level. I'm not going to detail the individuals we're talking to, members -- but you can be sure that members of the president's team are continuing the conversations that we have been having for weeks and months, even. And that goes on every day.

TAPPER: But there is -- there is a plan.

CARNEY: Look, there are a variety of ways to achieve a compromise here. And we are obviously, as our members and leaders of Congress, engaged in discussions about what those plans look like and what the best way forward will be as the clock clicks down here -- ticks down, sorry.

-Jake Tapper ( @jaketapper )

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