Spending Cuts and Fast & Furious: Today’s Q’s for O’s WH – 7/5/2011

By Eliza

Jul 5, 2011 6:04pm

TAPPER:  Some Republicans on the Hill say that some of the spin coming from the White House is inaccurate; that the White House and Democrats have not signed off to trillions of dollars in spending cuts, that it was roughly one trillion (dollars), and that they hadn't actually agreed to any of them and there were a bunch of gimmicks contained within that trillion.  Can you –

CARNEY:  Well, you know, Jake, that we have not commented on the specifics of the negotiations that the vice president led, and I'm not going to start doing that now.  I would say that the president has always said, the vice president has said, others have said that we obviously agree to the proposition that nothing is agreed upon until everything is agreed upon, and I think that that will hold true in these negotiations; that compromise necessitates all the pieces coming together.  And what I can guarantee you is that significant progress was made towards reducing spending in those conversations, and that more progress needs to be made in order to get this thing done.  And that progress needs to come in all the facets that the president talked about:  in non-defense discretionary spending, in defense spending, in entitlement spending, and in spending in the tax code.

TAPPER:  About the Fast and Furious program, I know that there is this investigation going on internally.  Weapons from the Fast and Furious program are now showing up in the United States attached to criminal transactions.  The ABC station in Phoenix last week reported on several of these weapons from Fast and Furious turning up in crimes. How come we know so little — the public knows so little — about this program? And what is the administration doing to get to the bottom of these weapons, which are now showing up in crimes in the United States?

CARNEY:  I think there's an investigation going on precisely to get to the bottom of this.  And I can't comment further on it because there is an investigation going on.

TAPPER:  Can the acting head of the BATF be permitted to go to Capitol Hill to testify?  My understanding is that the — that he's not been allowed by the administration to go there and explain what's going on.

CARNEY:  I'll have to refer you to Justice on that.  I'm not — I don't have any information on that.

TAPPER:  It's not something that you guys are worried about and incensed about?  This is something that — 

CARNEY:  Well, Jake, I think it's being investigated for a reason.  And obviously, it's a matter of concern, and that's why there's an investigation.  But it would be a mistake for me to comment further on — or to characterize further what happened or — you know, how — to rate our unhappiness about it from here.   So I think that I have to refer you to the Justice Department for that.

TAPPER:  It — lastly, I mean, we have heard at times, you know, when the president was upset about something — "plug the damn hole" is one such anecdote that was shared exclusively with every single person in this room by the White House. Did you — is this president upset about this?  I mean, this is a government operation where now weapons — I mean, the Mexicans are upset that guns are now turning up —

CARNEY:  I think you could assume that the president takes this very seriously.

TAPPER:  No one's lost their job.

CARNEY:  And we don't — there's an investigation going on, so to comment on people's jobs and that sort of thing is inappropriate.  But the president takes it very seriously.  I think he made clear when the — during the Mexican state visit and the press conference he had then that he found out about this through news reports.  And he takes it very seriously. 

-Jake Tapper

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