Until now, administration officials have declined to specify which bills they would pay after Aug. 2 with no increase in borrowing authority.
But in an interview with "CBS Evening News," Obama issued his most explicit warning about government benefits and said for the first time that the elderly might not be the only ones affected.
"This is not just a matter of Social Security checks," Obama said. "These are veterans' checks, these are folks on disability and their checks. There are about 70 million checks that go out every month."
President Obama plans to ask Congress this week to raise the debt limit by $1.2 trillion, an increase that should get the government through most of next year, a Treasury department official said Tuesday.
The president and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill were talking tough, too. “The president made clear that we’re not going to recreate the debt ceiling debacle of last August,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary. He added, “It is simply not acceptable to hold the American and global economy hostage to one party’s political ideology.”
President Obama warned congressional leaders on Wednesday that he would not tolerate a replay of the bitter debt-ceiling fight of last summer that nearly put the United States in default and led to the nation’s first credit-rating downgrade.
During lunch at the White House with top leaders of the House and Senate, Obama called the political deadlock last year “not acceptable” and emphasized that he expects a “serious bipartisan approach” to tackling the budget and the federal deficit this year, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
Understand - raising the debt ceiling does not allow Congress to spend more money. It simply gives our country the ability to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up. In the past, raising the debt ceiling was routine. Since the 1950s, Congress has always passed it, and every President has signed it. President Reagan did it 18 times. George W. Bush did it 7 times. And we have to do it by next Tuesday, August 2nd, or else we won't be able to pay all of our bills.
For the last decade, we have spent more money than we take in. In the year 2000, the government had a budget surplus. But instead of using it to pay off our debt, the money was spent on trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, while two wars and an expensive prescription drug program were simply added to our nation's credit card.
As a result, the deficit was on track to top $1 trillion the year I took office. To make matters worse, the recession meant that there was less money coming in, and it required us to spend even more - on tax cuts for middle-class families; on unemployment insurance; on aid to states so we could prevent more teachers and firefighters and police officers from being laid off. These emergency steps also added to the deficit.
"It's an important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means," Obama said at a Rose Garden news conference following the vote. "This is, however, just the first step. This compromise requires that both parties work together on a larger plan to cut the deficit."
President Barack Obama gave lawmakers 10 days to come to an agreement, insisting he will call daily meetings until a deal is reached to raise the debt ceiling.
“Don’t call my bluff,” President Obama reportedly warned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) during a tough bargaining session over the debt ceiling July 13. “I’m going to the American people with this.”
"When you're a senator, traditionally what's happened is, this is always a lousy vote. Nobody likes to be tagged as having increased the debt limit -- for the United States by a trillion dollars. As president, you start realizing, you know what, we, we can't play around with this stuff. This is the full faith and credit of the United States."
The first approach says, let’s live within our means by making serious, historic cuts in government spending. Let’s cut domestic spending to the lowest level it’s been since Dwight Eisenhower was President. Let’s cut defense spending at the Pentagon by hundreds of billions of dollars. Let’s cut out waste and fraud in health care programs like Medicare -- and at the same time, let’s make modest adjustments so that Medicare is still there for future generations. Finally, let’s ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to give up some of their breaks in the tax code and special deductions.