President Barack Obama said on Monday he would not negotiate with Congress over whether to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and chided Republicans for threatening to bring the government to a halt in an effort to repeal his signature healthcare reform law.
The White House is gearing up for difficult budget talks with lawmakers, but it has said consistently that the president would not negotiate over the debt limit, which must be raised so Washington can pay its bills.
“I will not negotiate over whether or not America keeps its word and meets its obligations. I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States,” Obama said at the White House.
“This country has worked too hard for too long to dig out of a crisis just to see their elected representatives here in Washington purposely cause another crisis,” he said.
In a blistering warning to congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama said it would be the “height of irresponsibility” for lawmakers to cause another economic crisis just five years after the collapse of the nation’s financial system.
“I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can’t get 100 percent of what it wants,” Obama said Monday. “That’s never happened before.”
The president spoke at a White House event pegged to the fifth anniversary of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. The White House used the anniversary to lay out the president’s markers for upcoming fiscal fights with Congress over funding the government and raising the nation’s debt limit.
Obama reiterated his refusal to negotiate with Republicans over the debt ceiling. And he called on Congress to “pass a budget without drama.”
Some conservative Republicans say they will only extend current spending levels or increase the debt ceiling if Obama delays putting in place his health care law, a condition Obama has flatly rejected. Others say the scheduled spending cuts should stay in place to reduce the deficit.
The president was flanked by Americans the White House says have benefitted from his administration’s economic and banking policies. Those policies, he said, have laid a “new foundation” for economic growth, though he acknowledged that the recovery is not being felt by many middle class Americans.
Polling show the public is not convinced that the economy is on the mend. Only one-third say the economic system is more secure now than in 2008, and 52 percent say they disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy, according to a Pew Research Center poll.