Obama Calls on Congress to “Do Its Job” on Debt Ceiling

Posted July 23rd, 2011 at 3:15 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

After a short meeting with congressional leaders at the White House Saturday, U.S. President Barack Obama has issued a statement calling on Congress to “do its job” and avoid letting the country default on its debts.

In a statement, the White House said Mr. Obama restated his opposition to a short-term extension of the national debt ceiling because he said it could damage the nation's credit rating. He said Congress should stop playing “reckless political games” with the economy.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell responded by saying the bipartisan leadership in Congress is “committed” to working on new legislation that will prevent default while “substantially” reducing spending.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Obama said during his Saturday weekly address that the meeting was meant to give lawmakers a chance to explain how the country will avoid defaulting on its debts after the government runs out of money on August 2. He said both sides must compromise or they will never get anything done.

The top Democrat and Republican from each body of Congress – House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – attended the meeting at the White House Saturday. Afterward, the lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill for more discussion.

Speaker Boehner walked out of talks with the president on Friday. Afterward, he said President Obama had demanded an unacceptable increase in tax revenue that would require raising taxes on the people needed to invest in the economy and create jobs. Boehner said he remains confident the U.S. can avoid defaulting on its payments.

The U.S. Treasury Department, the central bank and the White House have all warned a default would have catastrophic consequences for the economy. Economists have also said default would have a very negative effect on the global economy.