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Obama Urges Quick Progress on Budget

U.S. President Barack Obama is calling on lawmakers to end what he called Washington's cycle of "manufactured crises and self-inflicted wounds" and pass a budget that will help grow the economy.

In his weekly address Saturday, President Obama laid out his priorities for the budget that Congress began debating this week. Mr. Obama said he favors cutting "wasteful tax loopholes" to make room for programs that help build infrastructure and improve education.

The president also highlighted his efforts at fiscal discipline, noting that recent Treasury Department figures show the U.S. government cut its deficit in half in fiscal 2013, to its lowest level since 2008.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans have less than three months to reach a deal on a new budget. The deadline to raise the U.S. borrowing limit comes just a few weeks after that.

The deadlines were set under last month's deal that ended a 16-day partial government shutdown caused by Republican objections to the president's signature health care law.

Obamacare, as the law is known, was the topic of the weekly Republican address. Senator Dan Coats slammed the health care website, which has experienced a number of problems since it was unveiled last month.

Coats said the troubled rollout of Obamacare is "just the tip of the iceberg," and warned if the problem is not solved, "Americans will be stuck on board this Titanic." The senator has proposed a one-year delay in the parts of Obamacare that require all uninsured Americans to sign up for health insurance or face a financial penalty.

Republican lawmakers have continued to express opposition to the healthcare plan, but have signaled they will work to prevent another shutdown. Mr. Obama on Saturday welcomed those statements, saying "we shouldn't be injuring ourselves every few months."

Mr. Obama - a Democrat in the fifth year of his presidency - often has sparred with Republican opponents in Congress over government spending, tax rates and the country's long-term debt.

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FILE - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel briefs reporters at the Pentagon on the military health care system.

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