Obama: Time To 'Seize The Moment' On Debt And Deficits - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Obama: Time To 'Seize The Moment' On Debt And Deficits

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama, making his push for a debt reduction plan that includes tax hikes and spending cuts, said Friday Republicans should listen to voters, whom he said support such a move.

"At what point do the folks over there start listening to the people who put them in office?" Obama said at a news conference. "Now is a good time."

The president called on congressional leaders to "seize the moment" and stabilize America's finances by agreeing to a grand compromise that would include entitlement reform and higher taxes on wealthier Americans.

Obama said congressional leaders have expressed a desire to make sure the United States doesn't default on its obligations. "That is a good thing," Obama said.

This is not some abstract issue," he warned. "Congress has run up the credit card" and now the bills must be paid, he said.

The president acknowledged that many Republicans have resisted his plan and said he expects many to vote on proposals next week simply "to make political statements."

"I am still pushing for us to achieve a big deal. If we can't do the biggest deal possible, let's still be ambitious. Let's still get a down payment on deficit reduction."

A third option is to raise the debt ceiling but do nothing else, Obama said, but then the problem "will still plague us for months and years to come."

The president warned that the GOP's "cut, cap, and balance" plan would require cutting Medicare and Social Security "substantially."

Obama dismissed the GOP's call for a balanced budget amendment, saying political leaders don't need a constitutional amendment to "do our jobs."

Top House Republicans blasted Obama earlier Friday for failing to produce what they consider to be a legitimate spending cut plan in the debt ceiling talks -- a sign of continued frustration with the pace of negotiations. >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM CNN

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