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Obama: ‘We Got To Pay Our Bills’

WASHINGTON, (UPI) –  President Obama says he will not negotiate with congressional Republicans on raising the debt ceiling, saying America is not a “deadbeat” country.

“The debt ceiling is not question of authorizing more spending,” Obama said in what is likely his last news conference of his first presidential term. “It allows the country to pay for spending that Congress already committed to. These are bills that are already racked up and we need to pay.”

He said he was “happy” to have a conversation about reducing the deficit, but not have that conversation tied to raising the debt ceiling.

“The issue here is whether or not America pays its bills. We are not a deadbeat nation,” Obama said. “So there’s a very simple solution to this: Congress authorizes us to pay our bills.”

He didn’t specifically say he would take executive action, but said he understands the “impulse to try to get around this in a simple way.”

“But there’s one way to get around this. There’s one way to deal with it, and that is for Congress to authorize me to pay for those items of spending that they have already authorized.

Threats of allowing the government to shut down would be “disastrous” for the American economy, Obama said, warning that Social Security checks would be delayed and the nation could sink into another recession.

“If congressional Republicans refuse to pay Americans’ bills on time, Social Security and veterans benefits will be delayed. We might not be able to pay our troops,” Obama said during a news conference that touched in part on the looming deadline to raise the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling.

For some Republicans to “even entertain” the idea of allowing the country default on its debt “is irresponsible; it’s absurd,” Obama said. “We got to pay our bills.

“They will not collect ransom in exchange for not wrecking the American economy,” Obama said. “The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.”

If Republicans are truly interested in reducing the deficit, they will have a friend in him, he said.

“We’ve got to break this habit of negotiating through crisis,” Obama said.

Almost as soon as Obama finished his news conference, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, issued a response saying the American people don’t back raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending.

“The consequences of failing to increase the debt ceiling are real, but so too are the consequences of allowing our spending problem to go unresolved,” Boehner said in his statement. “Without meaningful action, the debt will continue to act as an anchor on our economy, costing American jobs and endangering our children’s future.”

He said the Republican-controlled House “will do its job and pass responsible legislation that controls spending, meets our nation’s obligations and keeps the government running, and we will insist that the Democratic majority in Washington do the same.”

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Obama was correct in saying there shouldn’t be a debate “over whether the United States should pay the bills it has already incurred.”

“While the American people expect Democrats and Republicans to meet in good faith at the negotiating table to achieve a big and balanced solution to the challenge of deficit reduction,” Hoyer said in a statement, “they will not tolerate any party playing partisan games with a possible default and further downgrade of our credit.”

Obama also said he would review proposals submitted by a gun-control task force led by Vice President Joe Biden then publicly announce his proposal later this week.

Biden has spent the past several weeks conferring with interest groups and developing recommendations.

“My starting point is not [to] worry about politics but focus on what makes sense and what works,” Obama said. “I think we can do [something] in a sensible way that comports with Second Amendment.”

He reiterated his desire to enhance background checks, get rid of high-capacity ammunition magazines and have an assault weapons ban “that’s meaningful.”

The proposals likely would be a combination that could be achieved by both legislation and executive action.

He said opposition sometimes comes from a “fear that’s fanned by those who are worried about any legislation getting out there.”

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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  • red neck

    Sounds a bit interesting coming from someone that wishes that every one of his supporters get a free ride.

  • JimH

    We recklessly racked up huge debt and the only way we can pay it is to go deeper in debt?
    When does it end and the grown-ups take over the budget.

  • Warrior

    So, IL passes a 66% state tax increase two years ago because it was necessary to “pay a backlog of $8.2 bil in unpaid Bills”. Today we are now over $9 bil in a backlog of unpaid bills. Seriously barack, if you or your fellow “progressives” had any credibility, conservatives may listen. Unfortunately for this country, you don’t!

    • JimH

      Hi Warrior, It’s to bad Quinn captured that Chicago cemmetary vote.
      Between the Madigans and Quinn, I don’t see a rosey future.
      That tax hike was supposed to be temporary. I wonder how many decades temporary lasts.

  • tony newbill

    Dear Mr. Speaker
    This Debt Ceiling issue should be negotiated without rattling the market !!!!!!!!

    If it does there are NO Political Winners when People Financially and Economically SUFFER !!!!
    It would be a form of Extortion to think otherwise !!!

    President Obama is Playing a game of Divide and Conquer , I know its hard to think that in this day and age this is now the Political wind that Blows but it is !!!

    So you are going to have to fight fire with fire , because if you cannot figure out this then the fire with burn your well laid political plans because fire has no bounds !!!

    I think making the statement that the President is NOT being truthful about HOW He Is paying all the People that are ON the Government Dole with FAKE Money is a starting point , but you guys need a Clear Meat and potatoes Economic Plan when you say you are going to have to Cut these peoples Government Entitlements or you will not rise to this Occasion because people are not going to listen to you if you don’t explain in Detail How the hell you are going to Replace this Income stream in the Private sector Economy and to just say let the Free market work and it will create Jobs and income for these People who are on the Government dole under the Obama Bailouts is why Mitt Romney LOST !!!!!! There was Nothing detailed in Romney’s Plan other than letting the free market work and people are more detailed oriented today they have to have SUBSTANCE in Just how in the Hell this Plan is going to work !!!!!

    I am sorry to be speaking bluntly but you are at a crossroads and if harm comes to the market and ALL you end up with is Its Obama’s Fault will mean NOTHING if People are Suffering because of it , as you all will be seen as a failed congress and then Obama will simply do what he did to win reelection and that is say He will cut checks Give Him the Power of the Purse and people will Flock to His demands and then you will be even Less Meaningful , and Obama will be a King !!!!

    You need to Come out with a Plan that says you will initiate a retooling of some of the Manufacturing base in our domestic US Economy , like some of the Most Important parts manufacturing that would be the most Threatening to Our Society well being if a Debt Caused Currency War Breaks out between the USA and our Foreign parts suppliers who have gained their Position in economic dominance in a Unfair way , and to re-balance this leverage they have on Our Society with controlling our parts supplies totally is a national Security Threat and this effects the Economic Value of the Whole meaning of Dollar values .
    This will put Obama is a Position that he ran on to get reelected making him have to Agree with you and that will be the Only way to Block his political division he has going right now on this debt escalating out of control as you will be able to explain the growth in the economy from this domestic retooling of the US parts supply to bring this treat of a currency war back into balance and this Puts Meat on the Bone that the American people can taste as a solution to your cutting back on entitlements !!!!!

  • Beata

    We Got—–this from a “Harvard Grad”. Come on! I just opened my first paycheck (note I’m 67 years old and have to work). And I just got a $25 government pay cut. Too bad I’m not a congressperson. I’ll be their pay didn’t get that big a bite out of it. And shame on Colin Powell for his opinion that “shucking and jiving” is a racial term. Did he ever live in the South? Shame! Shame! Maybe, I should take short, fat and old as a dirogatory term.
    You can call a person fat, but you can’t say they’re handicapped. DUH!

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