Two days before the “Sunday summit” at which the President and congressional leaders of both parties hope to agree on budget reforms in order to secure a House vote to lift the debt ceiling, the White House ruled out what has been one of the most-hoped-for goals of both the Republican Party and the Tea Party throughout the entire budget process.
Ironically, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s dismissal of a Balanced Budget Amendment was issued moments after the President’s top spokesman gave White House correspondents a critical assessment of absolutist or maximist ideas that he felt would disrupt the negotiations on spending.
“I think we all know what they are,” said Carney, “and that’s when you say, no way, no how, never going to happen on any particular issue that is obviously essential to a balanced approach—no way, no how, nothing on entitlements. No way, no how, nothing on revenues. No way, no how, nothing on defense spending. No way, no how, nothing on non-defense discretionary.”
But when HUMAN EVENTS subsequently asked whether the President had ruled out support of a Balanced Budget Amendment that is strongly supported by many Republican members of Congress, Carney’s reply left no doubts at all—or any room for compromise.
“The President believes very strongly,” Carney told HUMAN EVENTS, “as a vast majority of right-thinking economists believe, that Congress needs to act, and we need to act to take the measures necessary to deal with our budget deficits and to deal with our long-term debt—not get—this is not a constitutional issue.
And the fact is, is that the Balanced Budget Amendment would be—is basically an admission by Congress that they can’t do anything, right? And that’s not true, as these discussions that we’re engaged in right now. And it should not be true, and it’s a shame if people actually believe that. So, no, we don’t support it.”
“So you’re saying,” we remonstrated, “you’re putting that in the category you referred to, “no way, no how”?
“What I’m saying,” Carney fired back, “is that it’s not good for the economy, it doesn’t answer the problem, and that we need to act—because we are capable of doing the work that the American people sent us here to do.”
HUMAN EVENTS tried to ask how the President would respond if “the members [of Congress] bring it up” Sunday, but, by then, Carney had had enough.
“I think we’ve covered the Balanced Budget Amendment,” he said, and moved on in the briefing.