CQ Roll Call: Back To Drawing Board On Deficit Reduction Talks, Calif. Special Election | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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CQ Roll Call: Back To Drawing Board On Deficit Reduction Talks, Calif. Special Election

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Boehner changes tune on debt talks

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) came out of federal debt limit talks with President Obama Sunday saying he was advocating for a scaled-back version of a debt limit deal. Obama had proposed a plan to cut $4 trillion from the budget during the next 10 years, but Boehner backed off from the plan last week.

The plan included Boehner's  own proposal of between $800 billion and $1 trillion in tax overhaul and new tax revenue, according to Hawkings.  "Speaker Boehner realized in the last few days that was not something he could get his own troops to go along with," Hawkings says. "He was confronted with some anger I think by conservatives who say, 'we're the no tax party,' and this would have to be portrayed as a tax increase."

Obama holds press conference

While the president's last press conference on the federal debt limit had a very combative tone, Hawkings expected a more balanced approach this time during the press conference scheduled for 11 a.m. today.  "This is probably not the road he's going to go down today," he says. "Several administration officials and other Democrats are sending out the word that their spin is that Republicans keep walking away every time the deal gets close."

Obama's portrayal of himself as "negotiator in chief," will need to be balanced, however, Hawkings adds. "He has to balance that political posture which is obviously designed to woo the electorate and to help his reelection prospects, but if he comes across as condescending and suggests the other side is bargaining in bad faith, that will poison the well."

A deal will have to be reached within the next two weeks in order to be passed on time, according to Hawkings. “The next two weeks are crucial,” she says. "They absolutely need to get a handshake on some sort of deal, whatever it is, by next Friday, and ideally it would be this Friday, the 15th," he says.

Special election in California

A special election for the 36th District  Congressional seat in California is scheduled for July 12. The winning candidate will take the place of Rep. Jane Harman, a Democrat who recently took a position as the head of the Wilson Center. Despite the fact that the District, which is located just outside of Los Angeles, typically votes Democrat, Republican Craig Huey is making a strong push for the seat.

Hawkings noted that the Democratic candidate, Janice Hahn, has largely failed to identify herself as a Democrat during the campaign. "She's done the curious thing in essentially not talking about her own party, essentially not talking about being a Democrat in her campaign ads," Hawkings says, adding that the move could make the election a “wild card."

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