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Durbin on stalled deficit talks: Dems, GOP got to "close the deal"

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President Obama calls congressional leaders to the White House again Monday, including Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) the number two Senate leader--and hosts another press conference--second in a week-- where he wants to talk about the stalled deficit/spending talks.

Durbin talked about the impasse Monday morning on ABC's "Good Morning America" with host George Stephanopoulos.

Said Durbin--placing blame on Republicans (blame they don't accept)-- "I'm disappointed. Last Thursday, there was resolve through most of the leadership, Democrat and Republican, to do something serious and something large enough that would address our deficit in a -- in a serious way but in a coordinated way bringing everything on the table and being balanced.

"Unfortunately, over the weekend, Speaker Boehner said I can't deliver, I can't produce on my side. We also, of course, had Congressman Cantor in the Biden talks walk out at one point too. The Republicans have to stay at the table. They have to work with the Democrats. We both have to be willing to put things on the table and get this resolved."

Given that many Democrats are balking at touching Social Security and Medicare, Durbin was asked how a deal could be struck.

Said Durbin, "Well, I think that's why the president's told us roll up your sleeves and be prepared to stay and get the job done. There have been a lot of folks on the other side of the table who have said, well, maybe we need half a deal, maybe we need it for just a few months. And the president said no. He told us over and over again, we've heard your speeches, that this deficit is a moral crisis, is holding back our economic recovery, and we've got to give some certainty to the business community across America about our future.

"And if that's the case, we've got to stay, close the deal and get it done in a timely fashion so we don't danger the economy the way your reporter made a mention of earlier where interest rates could go up and hurt families and businesses all across the United States.

Stephanopoulos told Durbin "I have heard sources say the chance of getting a deal or no better than 50/50. Do you agree with that?

"No, I disagree with that," Durbin said, not offering odds. "I can tell you the president is determined to keep us there and make certain that we're focused on the fact -- the decisions we make in that room will affect families across America and decide whether this economy is going to recovery. If we falter, if we don't have sufficient political courage and will to get this done and this economy is going to be hurt, then it's going to fall on our shoulders."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 11, 2011 8:07 AM.

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