Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Politics

January 14, 2013

President Obama's end-of-term press conference

(Continued)

Washington, D.C. —

 
 
 
What Chuck and I and I think many people are curious about is this new, adamant desire on your part not to negotiate, when that seems to conflict with the entire history in the modern era of American Presidents and the debt ceiling, and your own history on the debt ceiling.  And doesn’t that suggest that we are going to go into a default situation because no one is talking to each other about how to resolve this?
 
 
 
     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, no, Major, I think if you look at the history, getting votes for the debt ceiling is always difficult, and budgets in this town are always difficult.  I went through this just last year.  But what’s different is we never saw a situation as we saw last year in which certain groups in Congress took such an absolutist position that we came within a few days of defaulting.  And the fact of the matter is, is that we have never seen the debt ceiling used in this fashion, where the notion was, you know what, we might default unless we get 100 percent of what we want.  That hasn’t happened.
 
 
 
     Now, as I indicated before, I’m happy to have a conversation about how we reduce our deficits further in a sensible way.  Although one thing I want to point out is that the American people are also concerned about how we grow our economy, how we put people back to work, how we make sure that we finance our workers getting properly trained and our schools are giving our kids the education we deserve.  There’s a whole growth agenda which will reduce our deficits that’s important as well.
 
 
 
     But what you’ve never seen is the notion that has been presented, so far at least, by the Republicans that deficit reduction -- we’ll only count spending cuts; that we will raise the deficit -- or the debt ceiling dollar for dollar on spending cuts.  There are a whole set of rules that have been established that are impossible to meet without doing severe damage to the economy. 

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