Fiscal cliff: Chance for a deal?
POSTED: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 8:30pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 8:34pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — President Obama is warning Republicans not use the fiscal cliff to start a fight over raising the nation's borrowing limit.
In addition to those looming tax increases and spending cuts, the country could hit its debt ceiling by the end of the year and risk defaulting on its loans early in 2013.
President Obama called the deadline a "dangerous weapon" when he talked to business leaders on Wednesday.
"The only thing that the debt ceiling is good for as a weapon is to destroy your credit rating," he warned.
Mr. Obama is worried Republicans may refuse to raise the country's debt ceiling in order to get their way on spending cuts, and risk defaulting on the country's loans.
"That is a bad strategy for America, it is a bad strategy for business, and it is not a game that I will play," the president said.
Republicans are pushing back.
"He's the president, not the emperor," said Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole. "He does not have the power of the purse."
Fiscal cliff negotiations have been at a standstill since Monday when Republicans proposed raising revenue by closing tax loopholes, not by raising rates on the rich as the president has demanded.
"We aren't insisting on rates out of spite," President Obama countered, "but rather because we need to raise a certain amount of revenue."
House members headed home for a long weekend with Democrats so far unsuccessful in their efforts to force a vote on a bill that would extend tax cuts to 98 percent of America, but House Speaker John Boehner says he's here and all ears.
"I'll be available at any moment to sit down with the president to get serious about solving this problem," Speaker Boehner promised.
The White House budget office is now ordering the pentagon and other federal agencies to finalize their plans for surviving massive spending cuts.