WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama said Saturday that he and Republican leaders agreed the U.S. could not afford to default on its debt obligations but that they continue to butt heads over what to do with costly entitlement programs and tax breaks for wealthy Americans.
Obama and congressional leaders are expected to meet today to continue negotiating over how to reduce the U.S. debt. Congress would then have to raise the nation’s borrowing limit or risk defaults.
A package deal between Democrats and Republicans that includes trillions in spending cuts over the next 10 years and a tighter tax code with fewer loopholes is on the table, according to some media reports.
“I believe we need a balanced approach,” Obama said in his weekly radio address Saturday. “That means taking on spending in our domestic programs and our defense programs. It means addressing the challenges in programs like Medicare so we can strengthen those programs and protect them for future generations. And it means taking on spending in the tax code – spending on tax breaks and deductions for the wealthiest Americans.”
But in a Republican response, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said her party would not support revenue increases.
“To create jobs and set our country on a sound fiscal course,” she said, “we must stop spending money we don’t have.”