Obama to GOP on debt deal

President Barack Obama declared on Monday there would be no deal on raising the government's debt limit if Republicans won't compromise, and he said he would not sign a short-term extension — raising the stakes on volatile negotiations with the clock ticking toward an Aug. 2 deadline.

The president once again called a news conference to brief reporters on the status of the negotiations, just hours ahead of a third White House meeting with congressional leaders.

Obama said Monday morning in the briefing room, "We still have a lot of work to do," but applauded House Speaker John Boehner's "good faith efforts" to craft a deal. "Speaker Boehner has been very sincere" in his efforts to "do something big."

The president said, "We should use this opportunity to do something meaningful," adding, "Now is the time to deal with these issues. If not now, when?"
To congressional leaders, Obama urged immediate action on the debt ceiling issue, saying, "I've been hearing from my Republican friends for quite some time that it is a moral imperative for us to tackle our debt and our deficits in a serious way ... so what I've said to them is, 'Let's go.'"

He said he would not consider a temporary "stop-gap resolution to the problem." Obama continued, "We don't manage our affairs in three-month increments."

"I don't see a path to a deal if they don't budge. Period," the president said, accusing Republicans of having a "my way or the highway" posture.

To those lawmakers who say the debt ceiling should not be raised, Obama said, "they know better."

'Grand bargain' falls apart
The president spoke the morning after convening a rare Sunday meeting with lawmakers in the White House Cabinet Room, where he continued to push for a "grand bargain" in the range of $4 trillion worth of deficit cuts over the coming decade. That ran into Republicans' refusal to raise taxes.
First Thoughts: Walking away from a debt deal

Obama conceded that Boehner, who pulled his support for a large-scale deal over the weekend, faced a potential revolt by his caucus, and suggested Republicans should take a political risk — as the president said he is.

"I am prepared to take on significant heat from my party to get something done," Obama said, contending he has "bent over backward" to work with Republicans.

Despite these signs of a stalemate, Obama also declared, "We will get this done by Aug. 2."
Presidential candidates warn about compromise in debt deal

What happens after Aug. 2?
At issue in the volatile debate is the strength of the U.S. economy and the political fortunes of Obama himself — as well as lawmakers — heading into next year's elections. The administration warns of catastrophic economic results that would reverberate around the globe in addition to threatening the fragile recovery at home if the debt limit is not raised by Aug. 2, throwing the government into default for the first time.

Obama renewed his case Monday for a large deficit-cutting package that would put a historic dent in the country's deficits by blending politically poisonous elements for both parties — tax hikes opposed by Republicans, and social service cuts that Democrats decry.

The president said that without the tax increases all the burden would fall on those who can least afford it. "And that's not fair," Obama said, arguing that most people would agree with him.

Obama also took aim at the common GOP retort, "Where are the jobs?"

He said resolving the debt limit issue while tackling the nation's longer-term deficit problems "can have a positive impact in overall growth and employment."

"So what's the holdup?" the president asked.

"It is possible for us to construct a package that is balanced, shares sacrifice, would involve both parties taking on sacred cows," the president said, mentioning Medicare and Social Security.

Nonetheless, momentum could be on the side of a smaller measure of perhaps $2.5 trillion, due to Republican opposition to tax increases.