Obama laments GOP's 'maximalist' approach

Aug. 16, 2011 at 5:56 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday President Obama is dismayed by Republicans' "maximalist" approach to the debt and deficit.

Lawmakers must take action to "get our deficits and debt further under control, to take dramatic action -- the kind of action that will only work if it's done in a balanced way," Carney told reporters Tuesday, saying Obama was "struck by the fact that -- the sort of maximalist position that was taken by those who would lead their party, and that he thinks it's representative of an unwillingness to compromise that is precisely what's causing the kind of political gridlock in Washington that Americans get so frustrated by."

All eight GOP presidential contenders in a debate last week said they would reject any deal that incorporated $10 of spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases.

Now that the debt ceiling has been raised, Obama "does feel that we can now debate these issues about how best to deal with our deficits and debt, and we can debate issues about how best to promote economic growth and spur job creation without having that hanging over us," Carney said.

"We believe strongly -- the Treasury Department, the administration -- that America's credit rating is and remains AAA, but that overall this is just another reminder of why we need to continue to take steps to address our deficit and long-term debt issues," Carney said when asked about Fitch's decision to maintain, for now, the top rating for the United States. Earlier this month S&P downgraded U.S. debt from triple-A to AA+.

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