HONOLULU – President Obama is hailing a last-minute deal that pulled the country back from the “fiscal cliff,” but warned that he “will not compromise” over his insistence that Congress lift the federal debt ceiling.
Obama said in his radio and Internet address Saturday that the fiscal cliff deal raises taxes on the wealthiest Americans while preventing a middle-class tax increase.
With one crisis behind him, Obama faces new battles in Congress over raising the country’s $16.4 trillion borrowing limit, as well as scaling back more than $100 billion in automatic spending cuts for the military and domestic programs. The cuts are delayed by two months under the compromise.
Lawmakers promise to replace those across-the-board cuts with more targeted steps that could take longer to implement.
Obama said he is willing to consider more spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit.
But he said he will not compromise over his insistence that Congress lift the debt ceiling. The nation’s credit rating was downgraded the last time lawmakers threatened inaction on the debt ceiling, in 2011.
In the Republican address, Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan said that as attention again turns to the debt limit, “we must identify responsible ways to tackle Washington’s wasteful spending.”
Americans know that “when you have no more money in your account and your credit cards are maxed out, then the spending must stop,” Camp said.