WASHINGTON (AFP) – U.S. President Barack Obama hits the road this week to drum up support for his economic program as rival Republicans warn of a new showdown over the government’s debt ceiling.
Stymied by hostile Republicans in Congress and faced with the danger of his Democratic Party losing control of the Senate in next year’s mid-term elections, Obama has returned to the core of his domestic agenda.
“I’ve got a little over 1,200 days left in office,” he said Monday, in a preview address to political allies in Washington.
“I’m going to spend every waking minute of every one of those days thinking about and then acting upon any good ideas out there that can help ordinary Americans succeed,” he promised.
But Obama could face another fiscal standoff with Republicans who have warned they will not extend the government’s borrowing authority without parallel spending cuts.
“We’re not going to raise the debt ceiling without real cuts in spending. It’s as simple as that,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters on Tuesday.
“I believe the so-called Boehner rule is the right formula for getting that done,” he added, referring to the rule that matches new debt authority with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts.
Obama and his fellow Democrats have refused to discuss such an exchange, accusing Republicans of playing politics with the country’s credit rating.
“We are not negotiating on the debt ceiling,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said. “I don’t know how many more times we need to say that.”
Obama hopes to negotiate a new fiscal compromise by October — the end of the current fiscal year — in order to head off the threat of a government shutdown that could further damage the already sluggish economic recovery.