1 of 3 | U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media during a news conference at the White House in Washington, July15, 2011. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo
WASHINGTON, July 16 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday congressional leaders must show a "willingness to compromise" on a deal to solve the federal debt problem.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president reiterated his assertion that a solution will require "a balanced approach, shared sacrifice and a willingness to make unpopular choices on all our parts."
"That means spending less on domestic programs," he said. "It means spending less on defense programs. It means reforming programs like Medicare to reduce costs and strengthen the program for future generations. And it means taking on the tax code, and cutting out certain tax breaks and deductions for the wealthiest Americans."
Obama reminded his listeners cutting domestic and entitlement spending is not popular with his fellow Democrats and said he "wouldn't agree to some of these cuts if we were in a better fiscal situation, but we're not."
"I'm willing to do what it takes to solve this problem, even if it's not politically popular. And I expect leaders in Congress to show that same willingness to compromise," the president said.
Obama said the debt problem cannot be solved without cutting spending or "asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share -- or without taking on loopholes that give special interests and big corporations tax breaks that middle-class Americans don't get."
"We shouldn't put the burden of deficit reduction on the backs of folks who've already borne the brunt of the recession," he said.
"So I've put things on the table that are important to me and to Democrats, and I expect Republican leaders to do the same," he said.
At a news conference Friday, Obama gave Congress a 36-hour deadline to come up with a "serious" debt-deficit plan to avert a U.S. default Aug. 2.