John Boehner Welcomes Big Deficit Deal, Pledges to Work with President Obama


"We can achieve really big things when we work together. That's what the American people said last night in a big way," Reid said. "I'm going to do everything within my power to be as conciliatory as possible. I want to work together, but I want everyone to also understand you can't push us around."

Reid said he also spoke with Boehner earlier Wednesday morning and the two leaders had a "pleasant" conversation.

"I'm going to draw any lines in the sand," Reid said. "He's not going to draw any lines in the sand, I don't believe. I think we need to work together."

Reid took issue with a reporter's question about whether voters preserving a divided Congress left Democrats with any leverage or momentum heading into negotiations.

"Your statement, things stayed the same, is about as far off-base as you could be," Reid said. "We had an overwhelming re-election of the president. We picked up seats in the Senate. We picked up seats in the House. That's not the status quo."

While Boehner has hinted he prefers a short-term solution during the lame duck session, Reid expressed his inclination for a long-term deal especially while $109 billion of sequester cuts, which are mandated by the Budget Control Act, are set to take effect Jan. 2.

"We're willing to work it out sooner rather than later," Reid said. "I'm not for kicking the can down the road. I think we've done that far too much."

"Waiting for a month, six weeks, six months -- that's not going to solve the problem," he added. "We know what needs to be done and so I think that we should just roll up our sleeves and get it done."

Today, Boehner was adamant that lawmakers wait until the next session of Congress is seated to enact long-term, sweeping reforms.

"We won't solve the problem of our fiscal imbalance overnight, in the midst of a lame duck session of Congress, and we certainly won't solve it by simply raising tax rates or taking a plunge off the fiscal cliff," he said. "What we can do is avert the cliff in a manner that serves as a down payment on -- and a catalyst for -- major solutions, enacted in 2013, that begin to solve the problem."

At the conclusion of his statement, Boehner addressed his remarks directly to President Obama, imploring him to lead.

"Mr. President, this is your moment. We're ready to be led, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans. We want you to lead -- not as a liberal or a conservative, but as the president of the United States of America," he said. "We want you to succeed. Let's challenge ourselves to find the common ground that has eluded us. Let's rise above the dysfunction, and do the right thing together for our country in a bipartisan way."

Boehner did not field any questions from reporters and did not specify how soon negotiations might begin, or what type of forum the debate would take place in.

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