By Sam Youngman - 07/18/11 06:33 PM EDT
Shortly after President Obama officially threatened to veto the Republicans' "cut, cap and balance" plan, the White House's top spokesman mocked the proposal as "duck, dodge and dismantle."
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that the plan put forth by House Republicans would dodge responsibility, duck the nation's obligations to its creditors and dismantle social programs.
The House GOP proposal, likely to receive a floor vote on Tuesday, would cut 2012 spending by $111 billion, cap future spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product and allow for a debt-ceiling increase if Congress approves a balanced-budget amendment.
Carney said that the Republican embrace of the plan is "classic Washington posturing, Kabuki theater," and blasted House Republicans for "going through the motions, pretending you're for something that's never going to pass."
Obama told reporters Monday that he and congressional leaders are making progress, even as Carney backed off the July 22 date administration officials had previously laid down as the deadline to get an agreement and give Congress time to act before the U.S. exceeds its borrowing authority on Aug. 2.
The president met secretly with both House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) at the White House on Sunday night, but Carney refused to say what the topic of discussion was or whether progress was made in that meeting.
Carney said the president and his staff have been in constant contact with congressional leaders and their aides, and that Obama is continuing to push for the biggest deal possible.
Short of that, Obama's staff is discussing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) "back-up plan" that would raise the debt ceiling with about $1.5 trillion in cuts.