Debt ceiling stand-off? President challenges Republicans

President Barack Obama holds a news conference in the East Room of the White House January 14, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

President Obama held a news conference this morning at the White House to make a new pitch for "balance" as Washington approaches another fiscal deadline. Next month congress will vote on whether to raise the debt ceiling in order to avoid a U.S. default on its loans.

"If we combine a balanced package of savings from spending on health care and revenues from closing loopholes, we can solve the deficit issue without sacrificing our investments in things like education that are going to help us grow," said President Obama.

While the president says he is willing cut the deficit, he has told Congress that he is not willing to negotiate over the debt ceiling in order to do it. The president argues that raising the debt ceiling is not about authorizing new spending, but rather just paying for spending that Congress has already committed to. President Obama warned that markets and interest rates will react negatively if the U.S. defaults on its payments by hitting the debt ceiling.

So far, Republicans insist they will not raise the debt ceiling without major spending cuts -- and that's before either side has even addressed the sequester, the automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending due at the end of February.

To hear more about the upcoming debt-ceiling negotiations, click on the audio player above.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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