Obama: 'There Are Plenty Of Ways Out Of This Mess'
MSNBC.COM - As the Republican-led House and Democratic-led Senate push ahead with separate measures to avert a calamitous U.S. default next week, President Barack Obama once again urged compromise in the stalled negotiations.
"Any solution must be bipartisan," said Obama from the Diplomatic Room at the White House. "We're in rough agreement," said the president. "There are plenty of ways out of this mess."
"The time for putting 'party' first is over," he added. "It's time to step up and show the leadership the American people expect."
During his address, president said he was ready to work with top Democrats and Republicans through the weekend to get a debt ceiling accord.
Obama warned that the nation is in danger of losing its top credit rating, and once again asked voters to pressure Congress to act.
On the heels of his comments, Capitol Hill staffers received notice that House telephone circuits are near capacity, resulting in outside callers occasionally getting busy signals.
He later reiterated his call to action on Twitter: "The time for putting party first is over. If you want to see a bipartisan #compromise, let Congress know. Call. Email.Tweet. --BO"
Republican House Speaker John Boehner failed to round up enough support for his plan Thursday evening, exposing a rift in the Republican Party that is hampering efforts to raise the debt ceiling before a deadline Tuesday.
Shortly after the president's speech, GOP lawmakers announced plans to tweak the House bill with hopes of gaining the votes needed for passage as early as Friday. The Rules Committee announced it would convene an emergency meeting at 12:50 p.m. ET.
Even if it passes the House, the legislation is likely doomed in the Senate.
Rep. David Dreier says the updated measure will still raise the country's borrowing authority by $900 billion and cut spending by $917 billion. But a second increase in the debt limit wouldn't take effect unless Congress sends a constitutional balanced budget amendment to the states for ratification.
That was a key demand of rebellious conservatives who withheld their votes from the legislation on Thursday night.
An aide who attended Boehner's meeting with the GOP conference told NBC News, "If we pass this today, we will have sent not one, but two bills to the Senate that would end this crisis. All that will stand between the American people and a resolution to this crisis will be the Senate, which has passed nothing."
In the upper chamber, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid pledged to move forward with his own proposal.
Speaking to reporters Friday afternoon, he called the House bill "right-wing leaning," and said his caucus would not support a short-term deal. He asked for Republicans to make suggestions to improve his legislation.
"This is the last chance to save the nation from default," Reid said earlier on the Senate floor. "Though the House of Representatives have not yet voted, that plan is flawed, that's why they've struggled for days to pass this inadequate legislation."
Reid has until 11:59 p.m. ET Friday to file cloture on his bill — so, the earliest the Senate could vote to file cloture is 1 a.m. ET Sunday. That sets up a final vote on Monday morning to send the legislation to the House. >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
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