July 22 - U.S. President Barack Obama says he is prepared to make ''tough choices'' for a sweeping debt deal -- with the top House Republican saying they are not close. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
U.S. President Barack Obama insisted Friday that he was prepared to make "tough choices" for a sweeping deficit-reduction deal to avert a U.S. default, despite being warned by Democrats not to make too many concessions. At a townhall-style meeting at the University of Maryland, Obama appealed for compromise by both parties SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama, saying (English): "I'm willing to sign a plan that includes tough choices I would not normally make, and there are a lot of Democrats and Republicans in Congress who I believe are willing to do the same thing," With the deadline to raise the U.S. debt ceiling now just 11 days away, Obama offered assurances that the debt ceiling would be raised. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama, saying (English): "The one thing we can not do is not pay bills that we previously racked up. That's what raising debt ceiling is all about. Some argue that we don't need to raise the debt ceiling -- which effectively says we are not going to pay any bills. America does not run out without paying the tab. We meet our obligations. We we never defaulted on our debt and not going to start now." Obama and John Boehner, the top Republican in the House of Representatives are also pursuing a plan for up to $3 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years. But Boehner says there is no deal yet. SOUNDBITE: Speaker of the House John Boehner, saying (English): "There was no agreement, publicly, privately, never an agreement. And frankly, not close to an agreement. And so, I would suggest, it is going to be a hot weekend." The hope in Washington is that a wide-ranging package of deficit cuts being worked out will be enough to save America's triple-A credit rating. Rating agencies have threatened a U.S. bond downgrade without a comprehensive deficit-cutting deal. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.