WASHINGTON — After tension escalated in Wednesday’s debt limit negotiations, President Obama told Republican lawmakers that he will not yield on reaching a deal that includes a long-term deficit cut.
Republicans said that after a heated disagreement with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the president “abruptly” walked out of the meeting.
Democratic lawmakers, however, said that Obama gave a lecture to Cantor and Republicans and left the meeting because it had ended, not because of anger.
Mr. Obama did have ardent words for Republican lawmakers, however.
“Would Ronald Reagan be sitting here? I’ve reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this,” the president said just shortly before concluding the two-hour meeting.
The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, warned on Wednesday of a “huge financial calamity” if President Obama and the Republicans cannot agree on a budget deal that allows the federal debt ceiling to be increased.
The NYTimes Reports:
Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, said he raised the idea of taking what savings could be achieved now — roughly $1.4 trillion — and then having additional votes to raise the debt limit again before the elections in November 2012, with Republicans ultimately seeking a total of at least $2.4 trillion in cuts with no tax increases.
At this, Mr. Cantor said, the president “got very agitated, seemingly.” Mr. Cantor quoted the president as saying: “Eric, don’t call my bluff. I’m going to the American people with this.”
Then, Mr. Cantor said, “He shoved back and said, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow’ and walked out.”