News / USA

Obama, Republican Lawmakers Debate Debt Crisis

President Barack Obama speaks during Democratic National Committee event at the Hyatt at The Bellevue, in Philadelphia, June 30, 2011
President Barack Obama speaks during Democratic National Committee event at the Hyatt at The Bellevue, in Philadelphia, June 30, 2011
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President Barack Obama and Republican lawmakers remain at deadlocked over how to increase the nation's debt ceiling to avoid a possible default on its loans. 

In dueling weekly radio addresses President Obama and Republicans staked out their positions on how to increase the nation's $14.3 trillion debt limit. Obama says reducing the nation's debt requires cuts in government programs and tax increases on wealthy Americans.

"After a decade in which Washington ran up the country’s credit card, we’ve got to find more savings to get out of the red" he said. "That means looking at every program and tax break in the budget - every single one - to find places to cut waste and save money."

Obama says increasing government revenue through tax hikes would prevent the need to cut what he called vital programs such as student loans, medical research and government healthcare for elderly Americans.

Watch President Obama's weekly address

In the weekly Republican Party address Indiana Senator Dan Coats criticized President Obama's proposals and accused Democrats of increasing the nation's debt by 35 percent over the last two years.

"The president and Democrats in Congress must recognize that their game plan is not working," he said. "It’s time to acknowledge that more government and higher taxes is not the answer to our problem. It’s time for bold action and a new plan to address our current crisis."

Coats says Republicans are pushing for a vote on a balanced budget amendment this month. In the meantime he and other Republicans are calling on Obama to drastically reduce government spending and create a package of tax cuts to help solve the debt crisis and improve the nation's economy.

Watch Republican weekly address

As the debate heats and as the United States prepares to celebrate its July 4 independence day Obama urged both political parties to draw on the spirit the country to meet the current economic challenges.

"Democracy isn’t always pretty," said the president. "We have arguments. We disagree. But time and again we’ve proven that we could come together to solve problems. We remember that while we may not see eye-to-eye on everything, we share a love for this country and a faith in its future. That’s the spirit we need to harness now."

President Obama says he hopes Democrat and Republican lawmakers can reach a deal soon. The U.S. Treasury Department has said that unless the debt ceiling is raised before August 2 the government would be unable to pay its obligations, risking a default on its loans and causing serious damage the the nation's fragile economy.

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