By Andre Showell
President Obama began the day with a mission: convincing Congress to move into action before their summer recess, even though it’s an election year. He started the day by visiting a small business in Washington, D.C., with the goal of urging Congress to pass legislation that gives a 10 percent income tax credit to firms that create jobs and wage increases.
Republicans have always prided themselves in being the party that stands for businesses, but with today’s visit and the subsequent round table with small business leaders, the president appears to be poised to gain some cred with job creators.
But it was the midweek, midday lunch that the White House Press Corps wanted to know about. Oh to be a fly on the wall at the president’s lunch appointment with House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. They dined on sandwiches from local deli The Taylor Gourmet. But was bipartisanship on their plates?
White House Spokesman Jay Carney described the meeting as congenial, saying, “The president urged the leaders to act on additional measures to move on the to-do list he issued, which includes the kinds of priorities that we should be able to work together on to support the middle class.”
But the looming debt crisis was likely the unwanted guest at the lunch. With Republicans echoing the call for reduced spending and Democrats calling for a balanced approach that preserves entitlements, there are concerns that we could be in for a repeat of last summer’s showdown that put the economy on the brink of default. Carney said, “The president made clear we are not going to re-create the debt ceiling debacle. It is not acceptable to hold the economy hostage to one party’s political ideology.”
It appears that the lunch produced no agreement between the two parties to get to the bottom of the problem, so get ready for a new theatrical production of last summer’s flop called “The Debt Ceiling Debacle: Part II.”