President Obama urged lawmakers Friday to compromise on a solution to raise the debt ceiling by the Aug. 2 deadline, seeking to ratchet up pressure on Republicans reeling from their failure to unite behind a debt deal.
“There are plenty of ways out of this mess, but we are almost out of time,” Obama said at the White House in a brief statement to the press.
Obama highlighted a plan from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and another proposal from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., which would give the president the authority to raise the debt ceiling.
Obama’s remarks came just hours after House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was unable to corral enough votes to push a debt-limit plan through his chamber on Thursday.
Boehner is scrambling to gather the votes Friday to pass a measure that Reid has already labeled dead on arrival.
Of Boehner's bill, Obama said, “It has no chance of becoming law.”
Reid’s blueprint would lift the debt ceiling through 2012, while cutting $2.7 trillion in spending — including $1 trillion in savings from drawing down the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Republicans say the plan has no chance of passing the House.
Obama said failure to raise the debt ceiling by Treasury’s Aug. 2 deadline would lead to economic catastrophe. At a minimum, he said the United States would lose its triple-A credit rating, amounting to a tax increase on all Americans.
“This is not a situation where the two parties are miles apart,” Obama said, adding that the “power to solve this is in our hands.”
Congress will remain in session throughout the weekend in hopes of hashing out a deal.