By Sam Youngman - 07/25/11 07:18 PM EDT
President Obama on Monday endorsed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's debt-ceiling plan while blasting Speaker John Boehner's effort.
"Sen. Reid’s plan is a reasonable approach that should receive the support of both parties, and we hope the House Republicans will agree to this plan so that America can avoid defaulting on our obligations for the first time in our history," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. "The ball is in their court."
Reid's plan would cut $2.7 trillion in spending, including $1 trillion in savings from ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It would also raise the debt ceiling by $2.7 trillion, ensuring another hike would not be necessary in 2012.
Carney cast Republicans as being the obstacle to a broader deal pursued by the president. He said Obama had tried to cut the deficit by $4 trillion "by making large cuts in domestic and Pentagon spending, reforming entitlement programs, and closing tax loopholes for corporations, millionaires and billionaires."
"This sort of approach won support from Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, but the House Republicans walked away after insisting that the budget be balanced on the backs of seniors and the middle class," Carney said.
He continued: "Now, faced with the 'my way or the highway' short-term approach of the House Republicans, Sen. Reid has put forward a responsible compromise that cuts spending in a way that protects critical investments and does not harm the economic recovery."
Republicans argue it is Obama who was the obstacle to a broader deal. They argue he insisted on tax increases and moved the goal posts in the talks by initially requesting $800 billion in new revenues, and then saying he needed another $400 billion unless entitlement reforms were lessened.
Carney said Reid's $2.7 trillion plan is made up of cuts agreed to by all parties during the talks led by Vice President Biden and is "more than enough to meet the contrived dollar-for-dollar criteria called for by House Republicans, and, most importantly, it removes the cloud of a possible default from our economy through 2012."
Boehner and Reid are presenting their proposals to their members on Monday.
Boehner hopes to set up a House vote on his proposal by Wednesday, but there were signs Monday that it could be tough for him to win the Republican votes necessary to move his proposal.