By Sam Youngman - 08/01/11 01:09 AM EDT
President Obama hailed the debt-ceiling compromise reached by congressional leaders Sunday night but warned that he will continue to make his case for ending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
The president, in a last-minute White House briefing room appearance after a weekend of intense negotiations, decried the “messy” process, lamenting “it has taken far too long” to reach a deal.
But with congressional leaders and the White House in agreement on a deal that cuts $1 trillion immediately, Obama appeared relieved that the U.S. was on track to get the deal done before exceeding its borrowing authority Tuesday.
Obama spoke as Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) talked about the deal with his conference in a conference call. Boehner must now try to convince many of his members to agree to a deal that would raise the debt ceiling until after the 2012 election.
“Now listen, this isn’t the greatest deal in the world,” Boehner told Republicans, according to excerpts provided by an aide. “But it shows how much we’ve changed the terms of the debate in this town.”
Many liberal Democrats have criticized the deal. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will meet with her caucus on Monday morning, but on Sunday she reserved judgment in comments about how much support it would receive.
While saying the agreement does not include much of he sought, Obama cast it as an one that would help a sluggish economy in his comments from the briefing room.
The agreement, Obama said, will “begin to lift the cloud of debt and of uncertainty” that has been hanging over the U.S. economy.
Despite welcoming the agreement, Obama lamented that the White House and Republicans were unable to get together on a grand bargain.
“Now is this the deal I would have preferred? No,” Obama said.
The president said he would continue to make his case for a balanced approach in the coming days and months.
“We're not done yet,” he said.