WASHINGTON President Barack Obama warned Republicans on Wednesday against picking another fight over the nation’s debt ceiling, telling business leaders that it’s “not a game that I will play.”
Obama said in remarks to the Business Roundtable that he was aware of reports that Republicans may be willing to agree to higher tax rates on the wealthy as a way to avert the looming “fiscal cliff” and then come back next year with more leverage to extract spending cuts from the White House in exchange for raising the government’s borrowing limit.
“That is a bad strategy for America, it’s a bad strategy for your businesses, and it’s not a game that I will play,” Obama said, recalling the “catastrophe that happened in August of 2011.”
The president cited the prolonged and deeply partisan standoff over raising the U.S. debt limit last year that led the nation to the brink of default for the first time in its history.
If Congress and the White House don’t reach a budget deal, about $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases will automatically kick in starting Jan. 2, a scenario that’s been dubbed the “fiscal cliff” because it is likely to send the economy back into recession and drive up unemployment.
Meantime, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Republican leaders said Wednesday — prior to Obama’s remarks — that the White House had failed to offer a “balanced approach” that had a chance of clearing either chamber of Congress. “We can’t negotiate with ourselves,” Boehner said.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.