Transcript: Remarks by Congressional leaders after meeting with President Obama to discuss the fiscal cliff
Edited by Jenny Jiang
Transcript of remarks by Congressional leaders following their discussions with President Barack Obama on the fiscal cliff on Nov. 16, 2012:
Republican House Speaker John Boehner:
We had a very constructive meeting with the President to talk about America’s fiscal problem.
I outlined a framework that deals with reforming our tax code and reforming our spending, and I believe that the framework that I’ve outlined in our meeting today is consistent with the President’s call for a fair and balanced approach.
To show our seriousness, we’ve put revenue on the table as long as it’s accompanied by significant spending cuts.
And while we’re going to continue to have revenue on the table, it’s going to be incumbent for my colleagues to show the American people that we’re serious about cutting spending and solving our fiscal [problem].
I believe that we can do this and avert the fiscal cliff that’s right in front of us today.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
This isn’t the first time that we’ve dealt with these issues.
We feel we understand what the problem is. And we felt – I feel very good about what we were able to talk about in there.
We have the cornerstones of being able to work something out. We’re both going to have to give up some of the things that we know are a problem.
And so it’s like when we arrive at a point when we all know something has to be done, there’s no more “Let’s do it some other time.”
We’re going to do it now, and I think there’s – we feel very comfortable with each other, and this isn’t something that we’re going to wait until the last day of December to get it done.
We have a plan. We’re going to move forward on it. We’ll probably work during the Thanksgiving recess. We’re going to meet with the President when we come back the first week – at least that’s as I understand it.
I think it was a very constructive meeting. I feel very good about what we were able to talk about.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi:
It was a very constructive meeting. We had a recognition that every person in America knows that we must reach agreement.
We had – the Speaker spoke about a framework going into next year. I was focusing on how we send a message of confidence to consumers, to the market in the short-run too.
That is to say that we should have a goal in terms of how much deficit reduction. We should have a deadline before Christmas. We should choose some milestone of success so that confidence can build as we reach our solution.
Because if we do not reach agreement, not only would we miss the opportunity for doing something good for our economy and lifting the spirits and the confidence in our country, we will have an economic downturn that must be avoided.
We understand our responsibility there. We understand that it has to be about cuts; it has to be about revenue; it has to be about growth; it has to be about the future.
So as we cut investments and as we talked about revenue, we have to do so in a way that promotes growth and supports the future. It was good. I feel confident that a solution may be in sight.
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:
Yeah, I can only add to the observations of the other leaders that it was a constructive meeting.
We all understand that where we are. I can say on the part of my members that we fully understand that you can’t save the country until you have entitlement programs that fit the demographics of the changing America in the coming years.
We’re prepared to put revenue on the table, provided we fix the real problem, even though most of my members, I think, without exception believe that we’re in the dilemma we’re in not because we tax too little but because we spend too much.
- C-Span.org: Video of Congressional leaders after meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss the fiscal cliff on Nov. 16, 2012
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