Obama: Any solution to avoid default must be bipartisan
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says there are multiple ways to resolve the debt ceiling mess, but it has to be bipartisan and it has to happen fast.
The president urged Democrats and Republicans in the Senate Friday to come together on a plan that can pass the House and that he can sign.
He spoke at the White House as a bill by Republican House Speaker John Boehner to lift the debt ceiling and slash spending remained unexpectedly stalled after Boehner failed to muster the necessary votes. Obama said, "We're almost out of time."
Republicans were set to try again Friday and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced plans to move forward on a rival measure ahead of the Tuesday deadline to act or face unprecedented default.
The President compared the AAA credit rating of the United States to its political process, saying the nation needed a AAA political system to match its current credit rating.
Obama's statement on the stalemate over increasing the nation's borrowing authority is the first since he addressed the nation Monday and urged Congress to act.
The administration says that the government will run out of borrowing capacity on Tuesday. The president has asked for a $2.4 trillion increase over the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling to help cover government obligations into 2013.
House Republicans want to use the debt ceiling as leverage to make major reductions in the long-term deficit, a move Obama opposes. House Speaker John Boehner was unable to muster enough votes Thursday night for his proposal and was still searching for votes Friday.
Congressman: Boehner bill gets support overnight
A Republican member of the House Ways and Means Committee says he believes the GOP is "very close" to having enough votes to pass Speaker John Boehner's debt limit bill Friday.
Florida's Vern Buchanan tells MSNBC "there's been some momentum" in the overnight hours. A vote scheduled Thursday night was canceled at the last minute.
Buchanan said he's "confident the speaker will get there today" and send it to the Senate.
He said conservatives have been reluctant to back Boehner's bill because "people don't trust the process." Buchanan also said some lawmakers tell him they believe too much budget gimmickry is involved. He said "the bottom line is, we're willing to raise the debt ceiling, but at the same time we want to make sure the cuts are delivered."
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