Obama, Republicans foreshadow spending duels in Washington

Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 3:28pm

While Republicans this week have already begun to lace up their fighting gloves for the upcoming battles over debt and spending, President Barack Obama used his weekly address Saturday to draw his own lines.

"One thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they've already racked up. If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic," Obama said.

He made similar remarks in his statement after Congress passed late Tuesday night a scaled-back fiscal cliff deal, one that critics say failed to address the country's spending issues. The government must deal with at least three debt and budget issues in the coming months, including a vote on raising the debt ceiling.

The mini-cliffs, as some have called them, are almost sure to be met with partisanship and gridlock as seen in recent fiscal showdowns between Congress and the White House.

Obama did say he believes the government can find spending cuts "without shortchanging things like education, job training, research and technology" but insisted such negotiations should cast aside "the messy brinksmanship in Congress."

"If we focus on the interests of our country above the interests of party, I'm convinced we can cut spending and raise revenue in a manner that reduces our deficit and protects the middle class," he said.

In the weekly Republican address, Rep. Dave Camp, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, faulted Obama and congressional Democrats for not working hard enough to incorporate meaningful spending cuts in the fiscal cliff deal.

While Democrats argue the debt ceiling must be raised so the government can borrow money to pay its bills, Republicans argue that continually increasing the debt limit is no way to solve the country's spending problem.

"That position is irresponsible and fails to acknowledge what every family in America already knows - when you have no more money in your account and your credit cards are maxed out, then the spending must stop," Camp said, echoing similar comments made this week by House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas even suggested a partial government shutdown could be in order.

"It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain," Cornyn wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

Meanwhile, Camp said in the GOP address that it was time to "to stand up and say 'enough is enough' to those who would tax and spend even more" and called on Obama to join Republicans in their efforts to "fight wasteful Washington."

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