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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Obama: I Will Refuse to Sign Any Short-Term Deficit Deal

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama on Monday increased pressure on Republican lawmakers to make concessions for a deal to avoid an Aug. 2 debt default and said both sides must "pull off the Band-aid" and make sacrifices.

"If not now, when?" Obama said.

Obama said he would refuse to consider a short-term stop gap measure.

He told a White House news conference he would meet every single day with top U.S. lawmakers until an agreement is sealed to avoid defaulting on the national debt with the clock ticking to an Aug. 2 deadline.

He resumed talks at 2 p.m. on Monday with them to try again to break a stalemate over reducing the country's $1.4 trillion deficit and clear the way for a vote to increase the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

The Treasury Department has warned that it will run out of money to cover the country's bills if Congress does not raise the debt limit by Aug. 2.

Failure to do so could push the United States back into recession, send shock waves through global markets and threaten the dollar's reserve status.

Obama is locked in a politically charged debate with House Speaker John Boehner, the top U.S. Republican, over a large deal that Obama wants, a $4 trillion, 10-year deficit reduction proposal.

The deal would increase taxes—to the chagrin of Republicans—and reform sacred-cow entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid and cut government spending, which concerns Democrats.

It was unclear whether Obama would be able to persuade Republicans to agree to a larger deal after Boehner balked over the weekend, meaning the two sides may have to negotiate a smaller, $2 trillion deal.



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