The Nation

Jul 11, 2011 6:58 PM by Greg Boyce

Debt showdown looms

President Barack Obama says he will continue to push congressional lawmakers to reach the largest deal possible to cut government spending and raise the nation's borrowing limit.

Obama says he knows his call for a large deal faces resistance. House Speaker John Boehner has said a smaller deal stands a better chance of passing on Capitol Hill. But the president insisted, "Now's the time to do it. If not now, when." He says he won't sign "a 30-day, or 60-day, or 90-day extension" to the government's debt limit.

And to those politicians who say the debt ceiling doesn't have to be raised, Obama says "It's irresponsible. They know better." Congressional Republicans are wasting no time responding to Obama's challenge. While the president was speaking, House Speaker John Boehner's office e-mailed reporters saying tax hikes shouldn't be part of the discussion.

Obama says he and lawmakers will keep meeting until they reach a deal to increase the nation's borrowing limit. The Treasury Department says the U.S. will start defaulting if lawmakers don't raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2.

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