Debt deal in hand, Obama blasts Washington politics

Seeming embittered by the process that sent him a bill to sign Tuesday, President Obama blasted Washington for adding an "impediment" to the economic recovery with a "manufactured crisis" over raising the debt ceiling.

Obama, standing in the midday heat of the Rose Garden shortly after the Senate approved a deal to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the federal deficit, pleaded with Congress to take up stimulative measures like infrastructure and trade to get the economy moving.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Both parties share power in Washington," Obama said. "And both parties need to take responsibility for improving this economy."

The president was expected to sign the deal into law Tuesday afternoon, but not before delivering a stern lecture to Congress about the next phase in the deficit-reduction plan and his desire to see it include raised revenues.

"Since you can't close the deficit with just spending cuts, we'll need a balanced approach where everything's on the table," he said.

That includes "some adjustments" to entitlement programs like Medicare and reforming taxes so that the wealthiest Americans and corporations are paying "their fair share," the president said.

"Everyone's going to have to chip in," Obama said. "That's only fair. That's the principle I'll be fighting for in the next phase of this process."

After the "long and contentious debate" that birthed the almost universally panned deal, Obama said that most Americans care far more about "new jobs, higher wages and faster economic growth."

Noting that the economic recovery has stalled in part because of the earthquake in Japan, the economic crises in Europe and the Arab Spring, Obama said "our economy didn't need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis to make things worse."

The president said that it was "unsettling" that potential economic calamity in the form of default was required to get Congress to act, calling the debate "one more impediment to the full recovery that we need."

"And it was something that we could have avoided entirely," Obama said.