"[The] bottom line is he knows that he cannot get this debt ceiling increased without a bipartisan agreement," Bolton says. "Basically the point of this is to give them the chance to hear their points of views, to allow them to talk about what's on their mind, to get their concerns off their chest, so that the negotiations over the next couple months will be more productive."
Bolton says Republicans are expected to ask for significant cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. He says they'll want Medicare on the table for cuts and tax increases off the table. Tuesday, House Republicans voted against their own proposal for a $2.4 trillion increase in the nation's debt limit. The Associated Press reports that the vote was a political gambit designed to reinforce a demand for spending cuts to accompany any increase in government borrowing.
When Obama meets with Democrats, he's expected to continue with the message he gave Senate Democrats earlier in May: It's important for Democrats to stay unified. Also, Bolton says the president is expected to tell them not to "stake out any hard positions because it'll make a deal very hard to come by."
Bolton says market analysts he spoke with "expect political theater," but markets don't expect there to be a default and "there's no signs of panic yet."
Internationally, Bolton says high-level officials in China have "pushed the U.S. to clean up its fiscal situation," and the country's vice finance minister has endorsed Obama's plan to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion in the next 12 years.