WASHINGTON -- Republicans tried to set the stage for a short-term agreement to raise the debt ceiling on Sunday, even as Democrats continued to insist that a long-term deal needed to be worked out.
"I understand why they're saying they won't sign a short-term [deal], but I think they won't have any choice, and I think that's the only answer right now," Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
In a briefing with the Republican conference on Saturday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced that he would press for a short-term deal -- with major spending cuts paired with longer-term deficit-reduction strategies -- as a way around the current impasse.
This new focus was apparent in the statements of Republicans who appeared on the Sunday morning public affairs shows. They accused President Obama of trying to push the date for the next debt ceiling increase beyond 2012 because he doesn't want to have to deal with it during his re-election campaign.
"It's interesting that since 1972, Congress has raised the debt ceiling for six months or less 38 times. So we can surely extend it for five or six months -- have this committee of Congress come back and report on the way to continue to reduce our deficit, and in that way avert the disaster and make forward progress," said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) on CBS's "Face the Nation." "The problem, I think, is that the single most important thing to President Obama is extending this beyond his re-election campaign. He just doesn't want to have to deal with it again."
"I know the president is worried about the next election. But my god, shouldn't we be worried about the country?" added Boehner on "Fox News Sunday."
Democrats, however, made clear they are still against a short-term deal, arguing that a debt ceiling raise should not be clouded by the politics surrounding the 2012 elections.
On "Face the Nation," White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley reiterated that the administration is opposed to a short-term raise. And a Democratic official familiar with negotiations told The Huffington Post that at a 50-minute-long White House meeting on Saturday morning, the president "said he would not accept a short term extension because it could lead to a downgrade" of the United States' credit rating.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), also appearing on CBS, said that a short-term deal could potentially harm the credit rating of the country.
"We absolutely do not want to default," he said. "But this notion that we're going to replay this movie in four or five months -- that we're going to face this whole thing all over again -- the American economy is too fragile at this point in recovery for us to allow that to happen.
"We've been warned -- not by political advisers," said Durbin. "I hear the Republicans. They want to make this a campaign issue. Ignore the political advisers for a moment. Listen to the economists who are telling us -- all of them together -- do not lurch from one five-month period to another when it comes to the credit rating of the United States of America. Not at this moment in history."
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