Obama: GOP tried to “sneak” agenda into budget
In what he thought was a private chat with campaign donors Thursday evening, President Obama offered the most revealing behind-the-scenes account to date of his budget negotiations with GOP leaders last week.
CBS Radio News White House correspondent Mark Knoller listened in to an audio feed of Mr. Obama’s conversation with donors after other reporters traveling with the president had left the room.
In the candid remarks, Mr. Obama complains of Republican attempts to attach measures to the budget bill which would have effectively killed parts of his hard-won health care reform program.
“I said, ‘You want to repeal health care? Go at it. We’ll have that debate. You’re not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we’re stupid?'” recalled the president of his closed-door negotiations on the bill to fund the federal government until September.
Mr. Obama said he told House Speaker John Boehner and members of his staff that he’d spent a year and a half getting the sweeping health care legislation passed — paying “significant political costs” along the way — and wouldn’t let them undo it in a six-month spending bill.
The bill, approved by Congress on Thursday, trims about $38 billion from the government’s spending authority, though confusion and consternation over the size of the bill’s actual spending cuts increased Thursday in the wake of a report showing the legislation would only bring a reduction of $352 million in non-war government outlays for the rest of this fiscal year since most of the cuts come from authorized funds not intended to be spent right away.