Cantor, GOP House members, walk out of Biden debt ceiling talks
Democrats want to raise taxes. Republicans are resisting. Impasse achieved, Cantor and the other GOP negotiators walked, and now it's up to Boehner and Obama, who will play a game of chicken to decide the issue.
The breakdown was set off by the surprise decision of Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader and one of two Republicans participating in sessions led by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., to quit the negotiations.
This week's talks were considered to be crucial as the Aug. 2 deadline for an increase in federal borrowing authority nears.
Mr. Cantor had previously expressed optimism that the sessions could produce a deal. But he announced he would not be attending Thursday's scheduled meeting because Democrats continued to press for part of the more than $2 trillion savings target to come from moves like phasing out tax breaks.
"As it stands, the Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases," Mr. Cantor said in a statement. "There is not support in the House for a tax increase, and I don't believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation. Regardless of the progress that has been made, the tax issue must be resolved before discussions can continue."
The GOP would dearly love to get Obama's fingerprints on whatever deal is reached. The president has been MIA on the debt talks, except on the golf course with Boehner last weekend.
"President Obama needs to decide between his goal of higher taxes, or a bipartisan plan to address our deficit," Mr. McConnell and Mr. Kyl said in a joint statement. "He can't have both. But we need to hear from him."
By walking out of the Biden talks, the GOP has thrown the ball back in Obama's corner. Can the Republicans smoke the president out and have him take some responsibility for the pain these cuts will cause? With opposition actually growing in the House to any rise in the debt ceiling, the president may finally be forced to take a hand and confront his own party about taxes and entitlements.