Both sides stand firm as Obama enters talks on debt
WASHINGTON — Even though the White House is expressing hope of a "significant" deal with Republicans on cutting deficits and raising the nation's debt limit, the two sides appear to be hardening their positions.
This, on a day in which President Barack Obama has stepped into the talks with Senate leaders.
The White House is insisting on some higher taxes as part of the package.
But Republican leaders are flatly refusing to consider them.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met this morning with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the White House. Obama, Biden and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell met later for about an hour.
Obama's spokesman said the president reported that everyone at this morning's meeting believed that "a significant deal remains possible."
But he said Obama will only go along with a deficit-reduction plan that includes both spending cuts and increased tax revenue.
Republicans say that would never get through Congress because ofthe tax hikes.
McConnell, in a speech today, said, "It's timeWashington take the hit, not the taxpayers."
Without an agreement to cut deficits, Republicans say they won't vote to increase the nation's borrowing power.