After debt bill, Obama to fundraise in Chicago

August 2, 2011 8:32:50 PM PDT
President Obama heads back to Chicago Wednesday for a fundraiser and birthday party.

With the debt deal done, Obama hopes to return his administration's focus to job creation and improving the economy. But he is also free once again to re-engage in another political reality: fundraising.

Workers are preparing for Barack Obama's tenth trip home as president. Obama's 50th birthday bash at the Aragon Ballroom is, in reality, a fundraiser, one that was nearly canceled due to the debt ceiling divide.

"I can tell you this debate has not only captured the public's attention, it has consumed all of our time and energy for weeks, if not months," said Sen. Dick Durbin, (D) Illinois.

The debt deal has not brought certainty because the real cuts haven't even been identified. A yet to be named super congressional committee of a dozen will present the entire Congress with a $1.5 trillion defect reduction package in November. There will be no haggling. It'll be take it or leave it. It's an unprecedented way of making tough budget decisions.

"If the normal way of doing business was adequate, we wouldn't have a $14 trillion debt," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, (R), Senate Minority Leader.

If a majority in Congress won't approve the package of cuts, an automatic trigger will cut more than a trillion dollars from the Pentagon, Medicare and other programs in a draconian way no one wants.

In the meantime, economic limbo as everyone from construction workers to hospital employees, defense contractors and teachers wait to see how deep the cuts in their industries will be.

"This is not a jobs creating bill. This is a deficit refunction bill. And those are in conflict," said Chad Stone, Center on Budget & Policy Priorities.

With that uncertainty as a backdrop, President Obama returns home for a very brief birthday break.

"He celebrates his 50th birthday in Illinois, a state that has the 50th worst deficit in the country, so I hope they talk about that at his birthday party," said Pat Brady, Illinois Republic Party Chairman.

The president is scheduled to be in Chicago for just four hours Wednesday evening. But it will be time well spent for his campaign. Tickets are reportedly selling for between $50 a person all the way up to $35,000 per couple.


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