The president demands swift action on raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
President Obama for the second time in less than two weeks took his message on the urgent need for congressional lawmakers to come to an agreement on raising the debt limit to the airwaves. In a Monday morning news conference, the president challenged both Republicans and Democrats “to pull off the Band-Aid” and “eat our peas” because the longer they take, the more difficult their task will become. He also said that he would not sign a short-term deal, which he said is not an “acceptable approach.”
“It is possible for us to construct a package that would be balanced, would share sacrifice, would involve both parties taking on their sacred cows, would involve some meaningful changes to Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid that would preserve the integrity of the programs and keep our sacred trust with our seniors,” the president said.
Obama said that he is prepared for the criticisms he will receive from Democrats over his willingness to compromise on issues such as entitlements and acknowledged the challenges House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) faces from members of his party who say they will remain steadfastly against Democratic-proposed measures to increase tax revenues.
“The leaders in the room at a certain point have to step up and do the right thing regardless of the voices in our parties,” he said. “It’s going to take some work on his side. But look, it’s also going to take some work on our side to get this done.”
Obama also rejected Republican charges that he wants to make “massive, job-killing tax cuts” that will impede the nation’s economic recovery.
“I have bent over backwards to work with the Republicans to try to come up with a formulation that doesn't require them to vote sometime in the next month to increase taxes,” he said. “What I’ve said is, let’s identify a revenue package that makes sense, that is commensurate with the sacrifices we’re asking other people to make, and then I’m happy to work with you to figure out how else we might do it.”
The news conference took place hours before the president is scheduled to hold a third with congressional leaders and said the negotiations would continue every day until a deal has been reached that solves our short-term debt and deficit problems, avoids default, stabilizes the economy and proves to the American people that we can actually get things done in this—in this country and in this town.”
(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)