The United States risks a financial meltdown if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling, President Barack Obama said Tuesday.
“We could actually have a reprise of a financial crisis if we play this too close to the line,” Obama said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show.
Obama said there will be hard work over the next month on a deal to avoid breaching the limit and that “we’re going to get it done in a sensible way.” The White House says the ceiling needs to be raised by Aug. 2 to avoid default.
Republicans want spending cuts in exchange for raising the borrowing limit, which now stands at $14.3 trillion. A bipartisan group led by Vice President Joe Biden gets back to work on Tuesday on a deal.
Republican presidential candidates also used the issue to burnish their campaigns in a debate on Monday night. Mitt Romney, the field’s front-runner, didn’t directly answer a question about whether the limit should be raised but called for spending cuts. Michele Bachmann, meanwhile, bluntly said she wouldn’t vote to raise the limit without big spending cuts.