By Erik Wasson
Obama warns Congress on debt limit
President Obama reminded the American people about October's government shutdown in the State of the Union address on Tuesday and warned Congress not to create a new crisis on the debt ceiling.
Obama started the address by listing some bright spots in the economy.
"The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress," he said. He noted that the Captiol has been consumed in debates over the size and scope of government.
"But when that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy — when our differences shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States — then we are not doing right by the American people," Obama said.
He said that Congress should build on the bipartisan two-year budget deal struck in December, which avoided a shutdown this year.
"Nobody got everything they wanted, and we can still do more to invest in this country’s future while bringing down our deficit in a balanced way. But the budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crises," he said.
The U.S. debt ceiling must be raised in February and Republicans will be discussing later this week how to approach the issue. Many in the conference want to use the opportunity to reduce spending or to enact other reforms.