In his third press conference in as many weeks, President Obama today spoke to reporters and the American public about the status of debt and deficit negotiations – and the need to move forward immediately. He implored Congress to “seize the moment” and seek a balanced, responsible approach that stabilizes America’s finances for decades to come.
The President reiterated that a majority of voters from both parties support a balanced approach – one that reduces spending but also asks the wealthiest among us to chip in a bit more. At a time when we cannot afford everything we need, he said it would be unfair to ask our most vulnerable to embrace austerity “if we’re not asking the most fortunate in our society to make some sacrifices as well.”
Our economy has come a long way since the worst of the recession, but far too many people are still struggling to keep afloat. The President hopes that negotiations will yield the biggest deal possible – and that it will happen as soon as possible.
My hope, though, is that they’re listening not just to lobbyists or special interests here in Washington, but they’re also listening to the American people. Because it turns out poll after poll, many done by your organizations, show that it’s not just Democrats who think we need to take a balanced approach; it’s Republicans as well.
The clear majority of Republican voters think that any deficit reduction package should have a balanced approach and should include some revenues. That’s not just Democrats; that’s the majority of Republicans. You’ve got a whole slew of Republican officials from previous administrations. You’ve got a bipartisan commission that has said that we need revenues.
So this is not just a Democratic understanding; this is an understanding that I think the American people hold that we should not be asking sacrifices from middle-class folks who are working hard every day, from the most vulnerable in our society -- we should not be asking them to make sacrifices if we’re not asking the most fortunate in our society to make some sacrifices as well.
You can also read the full transcript from today’s press conference.