Back At It

White House Hosts New Debt Talks

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

In this July 7, 2011, file photo President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio meet with Congressional leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington to discuss the debt. A debt-busting deal on the scale that Obama and Boehner are seeking all but guarantees Medicare beneficiaries would feel part of the pain. Some working-age people and their families could also be on the hook, if the deal ultimately curtails the tax break for employer-provided health insurance.

Debt negotiations took on new urgency Wednesday after President Obama signaled that he’d accept a short-term deal—provided that it’s part of a larger framework. The president hosted Republican and Democratic leaders separately at the White House, and he’s reportedly still pushing for as large a deal as possible. Complications remain: House Republicans have balked at the Senate’s “Gang of Six” plan, the most viable specific proposal yet, because it calls for some revenue increases. They’re also opposing a backup plan that’d let Obama raise the debt ceiling on his own. The U.S. faces a August 2 deadline to raise its debt ceiling to avoid defaulting on government loans.