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Obama rules out short-term debt solution, says time for Washington to ‘eat our peas’

Washington Bureau

President Obama on Monday vowed not to sign a short-term debt-ceiling increase, saying lawmakers have a unique opportunity to agree to a significant deficit-reduction package and pressuring Republicans to negotiate in good faith.

At a news conference hours before negotiators are set to return to the White House for more talks, the president said it was time for Washington leaders to “eat our peas” -- and use the debt pressure to agree to what has been termed a “grand bargain.”

“If each side takes a maximalist position, if each side wants a hundred percent of what its ideological predispositions are, then we can’t get anything done. And I think the American people want to see something done,” Obama said.

“I’m prepared to take on significant heat from my party to get something done. I expect the other side to do the same.”

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The president, in much stronger terms than he’s used in the past, vowed not to sign any short-term deal that would use budget cuts already agreed to in talks led by Vice President Joe Biden to raise the debt ceiling for a matter of months.

“It’s not going to get easier; it’s gonna to get harder,” he said, referring to the electoral calendar. “So we might as well do it now, pull off the Band-Aid, eat our peas.”

Obama said he’s “bent over backwards” to work with Republicans on a deal that avoids raising taxes, an anathema within the GOP conference. He said he’s focused instead on closing tax loopholes such as credits for the purchase of corporate jets.

“What we have said is, as part of a broader package, we should have revenues,” he said.

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Congressional leaders are due back at the White House at 2 p.m. EDT Monday for more talks. Obama said lawmakers will meet “every single day” until a deal is reached.


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