Obama challenges GOP to compromise on debt
President Barack Obama declared on Mondaythere would be no deal on raising the government's debt limit ifRepublicans won't compromise, and he said he would not sign ashort-term extension - raising the stakes on volatile negotiationswith the clock ticking toward a Aug. 2 deadline.
"I don't see a path to a deal if they don't budge. Period,"the president said in a challenge to his political opponents,accusing Republicans of having a "my way or the highway" posture.
Asked whether or not he would veto legislation temporarilyincreasing the debt ceiling, the president said: "I will not signa 30-day, or 60-day, or 90-day extension."
The president warned that failure to reach agreement couldcreate another recession and throw millions of Americans out ofwork, painting a picture of catastrophe if a partisan stalemate isnot broken and Congress fails to act. He criticized politicians whosay the debt ceiling doesn't need to be raised.
"It's irresponsible. They know better," Obama said.
The president spoke at a White House news conference the morningafter convening a rare Sunday meeting with lawmakers in the WhiteHouse Cabinet Room, where he continued to push for a "grandbargain" in the range of $4 trillion worth of deficit cuts overthe coming decade. That ran into Republicans' refusal to raisetaxes.
Obama conceded that House Speaker John Boehner, who pulled hissupport for a large-scale deal over the weekend, faced a potentialrevolt by his caucus, and suggested Republicans should take apolitical risk - as the president said he is.
"I am prepared to take on significant heat from my party to getsomething done," Obama said, contending he has "bent overbackward" to work with Republicans.