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Obama Presses Both Parties to Compromise on Debt

US president repeats view that crisis can be solved, but only if Democrats, Republicans work together

US President Barack Obama makes a statement on the debt ceiling talks to the press, July 29, 2011
US President Barack Obama makes a statement on the debt ceiling talks to the press, July 29, 2011
Kent Klein

Three days before the U.S. government is set to default, President Barack Obama is pressing both parties, especially Republicans, to compromise on raising the debt ceiling.  The president said again he believes an agreement can be reached.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, President Obama repeated his view that the crisis can be solved, but only if Democrats and Republicans work together.

“There are multiple ways to resolve this problem," he said.  "Congress must find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House and in the Senate.  And it has got to be a plan that I can sign by Tuesday.”

Watch President Obama's weekly speech

Senate Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives spent much of the weekend rejecting each other’s legislation to end the crisis.

However, as the president acknowledged Saturday, senators from both parties have been talking to each other about possible solutions.

“And I have to say, Democrats in Congress and some Senate Republicans have been listening, and have shown themselves willing to make compromises to solve this crisis," said the president.  'Now, all of us, including Republicans in the House of Representatives, need to demonstrate the same kind of responsibility that the American people show every day.  The time for putting party first is over.

The U.S. government will lose the ability to pay some of its bills on Tuesday if lawmakers do not increase its legal borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion, which it reached several months ago.

In the weekly Republican address, Senator Jon Kyl of the Southwestern state of Arizona said his party is committed to cutting spending, while Democrats continue trying to raise taxes.

“Unfortunately, after weeks of negotiations, it became clear that Democrats in Washington did not view this crisis as an opportunity to rein in spending.  Instead, they saw it as an opportunity to impose huge tax increases on American families and small businesses,” he said.

Watch Republican weekly address

Democrats have agreed to cut spending, which Republicans have insisted on.  But the two parties have disagreed over ending tax breaks for wealthy Americans, reducing spending on social programs, and proposing a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.

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