Subject: Pool report #3
Congressional leaders talked to reporters outside the West Wing for about five minutes. All four said the meeting was a constructive step in the right direction. Mostly they agreed on the problem and the urgency of solving it, if not on how to do it. Boehner and McConnell emphasized the need to reduce spending while Pelosi was quick to caution about cuts in “investments.” McConnell noted that no one in his caucus thinks the nation’s fiscal woes are the result of taxing too little, even though they have agreed to put revenue on the table.
(McConnell also commended Obama on his upcoming trip to Burma, and area McConnell has had a “longstanding interest” in.)
Here are highlights of their remarks; please check against transcripts/broadcasts.
“I outlined a framework that deals with reforming our tax code and reforming our spending. I believe that the framework that I outlined our meeting today is consistent with the president’s call for a fair and balanced approach. To show our seriousness we put revenue on the table as long as it’s accompanied by significant espending cuts.”
“And while we’re going to continue to have revenue on the table it’s going to be incumbent on my colleagues to show the American people that we’re serious about cutting spending and solving our fiscal dilemma. I believe we can do this and avert the fiscal cliff that is right in front of us today.”
“This is the first time we’ve deal witth these issues and feel we understand what the problem is. I felt very good about what we were able to talk about in there. We have the cornerstones of being able to work something out.”
“We have arrived at a point where we all know that something has to be done.”
It was a very constructive meeting. We had a recognition that every person in America knows – that we must reach agreement. The speaker spoke about a framework going into next year. I was focusing on how to send a message of confidence to consumers, to the markets, in the short run.”
“We should have a deadline. We should show some milestones of success so that confidence can build as we reach our solution. Because if we do not reach agreement not only will me miss the opportunity for doing something good for our economy and lifting the spirits and the confidence of 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 talk about revenue we have do to so in a way that promotes growth and supports our future. It was good.”
“I can only echo the observations of the other leaders that it was a constructive meeting. We all understand where we are.”
“We are prepared to put revenue on the table provided we fix the real problem.”
“Most of my members I think without exeption believe that we’re in the dilemma we’re in not because we taxed too little but because we spent too much.”
White House reporter
The Washington Post