President Obama, in his first solo news conference at the White House in more than three months, used his bully pulpit Wednesday to press Congress "to seize this moment" and broker a deficit deal about a month before the U.S. faces default on its loans to global partners.
Repeatedly urging lawmakers to compromise on their "sacred cows," Obama said failure to raise the debt ceiling would lead to "significant and unpredictable" results in an already stagnant economic environment.
"By Aug. 2, we're out of tools to make sure all of our bills are paid," Obama said from the East Room of the White House. "This is a hard deadline. At a certain point [Republican lawmakers] need to do their job. They're in one week; they're out one week ... You stay here. Let's get this done."
Obama repeatedly aligned Republicans with wealthy corporations, saying their refusal to close tax loopholes for oil and gas companies and corporate jet owners, among other privileged business groups, would come at the expense of seniors, college students and the underprivileged to help close massive funding gaps.
"You can't reduce the deficit without having some revenue increases in the mix," he said in the more than hour-long press conference.
Republicans say they will not sign off on the raising the debt limit if the final package includes any tax increases. Obama will meet with Senate Democratic leaders later Wednesday to discuss deficit negotiations.
Also in the press conference, the president defended his decision to authorize military action in Libya without congressional approval and called New York's passage of gay marriage last week "a good thing."
However, he refused to reveal if he now supports same-sex matrimony, saying, "I'm not going to make news on that today."