Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Politics

January 14, 2013

President Obama's end-of-term press conference

(Continued)

Washington, D.C. —

 
 
 
     And by the way, I would make the same argument if it was a Republican President and a Republican Senate and you had a handful of Democrats who were suggesting that we are going to hijack the process and make sure that either we get our way 100 percent of the time, or otherwise we are going to default on America’s obligations.
 
 
 
     Q    (Inaudible) -- line in the sand negotiating, how is that (inaudible) to the economy?
 
 
 
     THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, look, what I’ve said is that I’m happy to have a conversation about deficit reduction --
 
 
 
     Q    So you technically are willing to negotiate?
 
 
 
     THE PRESIDENT:  No, Julianna, look, this is pretty straightforward.  Either Congress pays its bills or it doesn't.  Now, if -- and they want to keep this responsibility; if John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think that they can come up with a plan that somehow meets their criteria that they’ve set for why they will -- when they will raise the debt ceiling, they're free to go ahead and try.  But the proposals that they’ve put forward in order to accomplish that -- only by cutting spending -- means cuts to things like Medicare and education that the American people profoundly reject.
 
 
 
     Now, if they think that they can get that through Congress, then they're free to try.  But I think that a better way of doing this is go ahead and say, we’re going to pay our bills.  The question now is how do we actually get our deficit in a manageable, sustainable way?  And that's a conversation I’m happy to have.
 
 
 
     All right.  Matt Spetalnick.
 
 
 
     Q    Thank you, sir.  You’ve spoken extensively about the debt ceiling debate, but some Republicans have further said that they're willing to allow a government shutdown to take place rather than put off deep spending cuts.  Are you prepared to allow the government to grind to a halt if you disagree with the spending cut proposals they put forth?  And who do you think the American people would blame if that came to pass?

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