“I don’t think that’s responsible,” said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.
Another group of Republicans, generally senators as well as House members who have voted for recent fiscal compromises, was more positive.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, asked Obama on Thursday if the No. 1 priority of elected officials should be restoring economic growth. Obama said yes, and Cruz then asked if there was hope for bipartisan cooperation on taxes and regulations.
The freshman senator wanted to know if Obama would back “fundamental tax reform that doesn’t raise revenues but reduces the burdens of our tax code on small business and on individuals.” Cruz said Obama sensed agreement “on broadening the base, on lowering the rate so we can be internationally competitive and on remaining revenue-neutral.”
During the House meeting, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., was encouraged that Obama discussed changing how cost-of-living adjustments are calculated for certain entitlement programs as well as other Medicare changes.
“It was a good first step,” King said.
Democratic liberals were not convinced progress was imminent.
On cost-of-living changes, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said Obama told House Democrats that “it may be a moot discussion if (Republicans) are not willing to do substantial revenues.” They’re not.
Obama would not assure the liberals he wouldn’t tackle Medicare and other entitlements. But, said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, “The president’s very clear about this, and you might want to integrate it into your questions – very clear: no revenue, no change in the entitlements.”
The overarching message: Any progress toward a grand bargain will take time and more struggles.
“I’m glad President Obama reached out yesterday . . . and I think we had an honest discussion,” Boehner said. “But this is going to take more than dinner dates and phone calls.”