President holds final first term press conference
WASHINGTON, D.C.—President Obama held his final press conference of his first term and spending dominated the conversation.
He said, “The issue here is whether or not America pays its bills. We are not a deadbeat nation.”
The president is pressuring Congress to raise the debt limit before it expires as early as mid-February.
He vowed not to let Congressional Republicans use it to draw a ‘ransom’ for their priorities.
He said, “They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The financial well-being of the American people is not leverage to be used. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.”
The president sought to frame the debt ceiling as something that must be raised in order to pay for spending Congress has already authorized.
He says the consequences would be severe if it is not raised, including missed benefit checks, lack of money to pay businesses for services and the reduction of America’s credit standing.
President Obama said, “This is about paying your bills. Everybody, everybody here understands this. I mean, this is not a complicated concept. You don’t go out to dinner and then, you know, eat all you want and then leave without paying the check. And if you do, you’re breaking the law.”
In March, the government also runs out of money to fund operations, another threat the president says will damage the economy.
President Obama also spoke on guns, saying he’ll unveil his proposals next week.
The president acknowledged that strong opposition may prevent Congress from approving everything he is asking.
He said, “The issue here is not whether or not we believe in the Second Amendment. The issue is, are there some sensible steps that we can take to make sure that somebody like the individual in Newtown can’t walk into a school and gun down a bunch of children in a, in a shockingly rapid fashion? And surely we can do something about that.”
President Obama continued to speak about closing loopholes in the tax code for the wealthiest Americans and using that money, plus savings from health care, to cut down the deficit without sacrificing educational spending.