Senior Republican sources say Obama is amenable to changes to mandatory and discretionary spending, but needs Republicans to commit to increasing governmental revenue.In the mean time, Jay Carney has re-iterated that the president will not pay a ransom simply to reopen government and pay America's bills.
What does all this mean? The best I can tell, the president is exactly in the same position he has always been in: Republicans need to end the shutdown, stop threatening default, and then the normal process of budget negotiations can resume. Once it does resume after the GOP ends the crisis they inflicted on America, the framework, as far as the president is concerned, need to include both long term budget savings and increased taxes from those who can afford it.
One might ask, why would the president even engage in setting terms for negotiations that are to come post Congressional action to end the shutdown? The reason seems to be that that is the cover Republicans have settled on so that their complete surrender can have some lipstick and be sold back to their base. The president's response is, fine, if you want a commitment from the Administration of what we have been asking you for all year (budget negotiations), great.
But the House GOP wants more - a commitment to exclude proposals to increase revenue from that future framework. They want a commitment from the president to not go after tax giveaways for the super rich or corporations, as well as to spare them from any tax increases. They need that to sell to their Tea Party base. They need to give them something that at least sounds like a concession from the president, even if it's a non-binding, verbal promise.
Here's President Obama's response to that, paraphrased: Eat it.
If Republicans want serious budget negotiations, they need to first reopen the government and end default threats without conditions, and then come to the table without being obstructionists. They need to come to the table knowing that the president is willing to negotiate in good faith, but not with one arm tied behind his back. They need to come to the table expecting to seriously consider long term entitlement reforms as well as revenue increases. There are no two-ways about this. The president will not help them sell this to their base. And with Senate Republicans getting ready to hang John Boehner out to dry, he doesn't need to.