Obama Drives Home Urgency on Debt Limit

At Friday's press conference, the president sent a clear message to lawmakers: We have no choice but to make a deal

Obama debt ceiling press conference - Larry Downing Reuters - banner.jpg

President Obama on Friday expressed optimism that "we'll see this logjam broken" and progress will be made in resolving the nation's debt crisis in the next couple of days. But he stressed how high the stakes are, warning that failure to raise the debt limit on time will amount to "a tax increase on everybody" because of the impact on interest rates.

"Suddenly, whether you're using your credit card, you're trying to get a loan for a car or a student loan, businesses that are trying to make a payroll, all of them could end up being impacted as a consequence of a default," he said at the White House.

(RELATED: Norquist's Proposal, Not What You Might Expect)

The press conference--his third in a month and second this week--was called to hammer home the urgency he feels as the August 2 deadline approaches and a week of intense negotiations with congressional leaders yielded little evident progress.

When asked about the proposal offered by the opposition in Congress for a balanced budget amendment, Obama was defiant.

"We don't need a constitutional amendment to do our jobs," he said.

He also signaled he is not ready to give up on his push for the biggest possible deal, despite Republican opposition. "I am still pushing for us to achieve a big deal," he said. "Let's still be ambitious."

He praised congressional leaders for stating that default should be avoided. More than that, he said, is the need to address deficits. "We have a chance," he said, "to stabilize" American finances for at least a decade.

To miss this opportunity, he suggested, would be calamitous. And he complained that Congress -- which he said "has run up the credit card" -- waited so long to address how to pay for their spending.

"We should not even be this close to a deadline on this issue. This should have been taken care of earlier," he said.

Image credit: Larry Downing/Reuters

Presented by

George E. Condon Jr.

George E. Condon Jr is a staff writer (White House) with National Journal.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

A global look at the hardest and best job ever

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

More in Politics

Just In