Washington - President Barack Obama warned Congress on Monday that a refusal to raise the United States debt ceiling next month would trigger economic chaos.
Obama, at a news conference, said the US economy was poised for a good year as long as Washington politics did not interfere.
He said a Republican refusal to lift the debt ceiling could lead the US into a debt default, which would prevent the government from being able to provide Social Security benefits to some seniors and possibly tip the economy into recession.
"It would be a self-inflicted wound on the economy," Obama said.
Obama argued that he has agreed to plenty of government spending cuts and that it was now time for an overhaul of the tax code to close loopholes and for some modest tinkering with entitlement programmes to reach a balanced deficit-reduction package.
Crisis must stop
Obama said that he would be willing to take over authority for raising the US borrowing limit if Congress does not want to increase the debt ceiling.
Obama was asked at a news conference about differences he is having with congressional Republicans over raising the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling that the country is expected to hit as soon as the middle of next month.
"This is about paying your bills," he said. "We've got to stop lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis."
Impasse could shutdown govt
Obama said the economy would be damaged if a Washington impasse over raising the debt ceiling led to a government shutdown.
"My hope is that common sense prevails," Obama said.
Obama said it is possible that the Republican-led House of Representatives could vote against raising the debt ceiling.
If a government shutdown results, "It will damage our economy," he said.
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