Less than 24 hours after meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, Congressman Bill Flores said there is common ground being found in the battle over the budget, although a rift still must be overcome.
The representative of Texas' 17th District joined Brazos Valley This Morning Thursday, a day after he joined House Republicans in talks with President Obama.
"The President does agree with us that we have to make significant reforms in the fiscal operations of the federal government," Flores said. "He agreed we need to make cuts not only in the short term, but also in the intermediate and longer term. The secondary agreement was that everything is on the table. We need to look at cuts to discretionary spending, which represents about a third of what we spend annually, but also entitlement spending -- autopilot spending, as I call it. -- which is about 65 percent of the budget."
Where President Obama and Republicans disagreed is, Flores says, is on how to raise revenues, a debate the congressman says will continue to play out.
"You've got the troops rallying in both camps, and it's hard to see where the center of gravity is at this point," he said of the discussions, which are taking place between Senate Democrats and House Republicans, along with Vice President Joe Biden on behalf of President Obama.
Flores described the discussions between the two sides as "open and frank", but couldn't say when the discussion will lead to a solution.
"Our goal is to get this done before the end of July, before the August recess, but it's really hard to say where it's going to come from," Flores said. "If the President and (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid continue to focus on tax increases to balance the budget. We're going to have a really long, hard slog to get it done."
If the debt ceiling is not raised by August 2, the United States could default on its loans and cause trauma in the global market. Republicans vowed Wednesday to vote in favor of a raising of the ceiling if Democrats agree to trillions in cuts.
To hear more from Rep. Flores, including his take on the proposed congressional district map being debated in Austin and how his district would change shape, click on the video with this story.