The fourth consecutive day of debt ceiling discussions at the White House climaxed on Wednesday with President Barack Obama reportedly storming out of the meeting.
Failing to come to a compromise after another two hour talk yesterday, President Obama told House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), “Don’t call my bluff,” before walking out of the negations. The president was insistent that Republicans not try to pass a short-term debt limit increase that the commander in chief would knowingly veto immediately.
“I’m going to the American people on this,” the president allegedly told a room full of lawmakers.
“The meeting ended with the president abruptly walking out of the meeting,” Cantor said after the incident, as told by the New York Daily News.
“I know why he lost his temper. He’s frustrated. We’re all frustrated,” added Cantor.
With the debt crisis only worsening in America, matters only escalated following yesterday’s White House stunt when Moody’s Investors Service discussed downgrading the United States’s triple-A credit rating. The Wall Street Journal reports that Moody’s has cited the “rising possibility” that lawmakers won’t be able to agree to raise the limit before the US runs out of the money it needs to pay its bills as the reason behind the threat.
While speaking to the Guardian, Michael Hewson of CMC Markets calls Moody’s threat a “cruise missile across the bows of US politicians.”
“One thing is certain: it won’t take long for Fitch and SP to follow suit if the politicians don’t come to their senses,” adds Hewson.
Obama has told Congress that they need to decide by this Friday how they want to tackle the debt limit dilemma. In the meanwhile, the clock is continuing to tick down to the August 2 deadline that the US Treasury Department says the US must act by.
At Wednesday’s White House meeting, however, Cantor says he told Obama, “We are very far apart right now . . . I don’t know if we can get there.”
Democrats have since that yesterday’s incident has been overblown by Republicans.
“He stayed for two and a half hours and listened to what members had to say. It was his meeting and the meeting had come to an end,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tells The Hill.
“The president could not have been more gracious. I have never seen a president spend so much time with the leadership of Congress day in and day out, respectful of their concerns,” adds Pelosi.
An unidentified House Democratic leadership aids was also interviewed by The Hill, and says that Wednesday’s discussion was “the most tense meeting of the week.”
“Obama was concluding the meeting, giving the closing remarks and talking about meeting tomorrow, Cantor interrupted him and raised for the third time doing a short-term, and Obama shut him down,” the aide said. “Cantor was playing the role he’s been playing throughout this whole thing — being not productive,” tells the aide.
Before walking out, Obama reportedly told the room. “I’ll see you all tomorrow.” Discussions are expected to continue into today.
Economics professor L Randall Wray from the University of Missouri at Kansas City tells RT that while America might be in the midst of troubling times, it is something that lawmakers themselves made happen.
“We are in a created crisis, but it is a political crisis, not an economic crisis,” says Wray. He adds that, if the US does default, “it will be on a political decision, not something that is forced by markets.”
Goldline CEO Scott Carter adds to RT that the US isn’t the only country that is paying their bills just by printing money.
“We’ve got a sovereign debt crisis around the world, here in the US and certainly in Europe,” says Carter. He adds that, if America wants out of this mess, they will need to stop the spending, stop the declining dollar and get the debt dilemma in order.