Weekly Address: Congress Must Raise Debt Ceiling

President Obama sternly warned congressional Republicans today that if they don't agree to raise the debt ceiling next month, the consequences could be "catastrophic."

"We know there’s a path forward. Last year, I signed into law $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction. This week’s action further reduces the deficit by $737 billion, making it one of the largest deficit reduction bills passed by Congress in over a decade. And I’m willing to do more."

"I believe we can find more places to cut spending without shortchanging things like education, job training, research and technology all which are critical to our prosperity in a 21st century economy. But spending cuts must be balanced with more reforms to our tax code. The wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations shouldn’t be able to take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans."

"And as I said earlier this week, one thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they’ve already racked up. If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic. The last time Congress threatened this course of action, our entire economy suffered for it. Our families and our businesses cannot afford that dangerous game again."

Obama also congratulated the newly sworn-in members of Congress, and encouraged them to put party politics aside in order to focus on the work that needs to be done in order to "cut spending and raise revenue in a manner that reduces our deficit and protects the middle class. And we can step up to meet the important business that awaits us this year. Creating jobs and boosting incomes. Fixing our infrastructure and our immigration system. Promoting our energy independence while protecting our planet from the harmful effects of climate change. Educating our children and shielding them from the horrors of gun violence."

A full transcript is available at the White House website.

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