Obama warns that 'locked up' Washington could hurt economy
U.S. President Barack Obama is touting positive gains in the economy but also warning that a "locked up" Washington is delaying progress on other issues that could build on that growth.
Obama says the most obvious example is his push for a comprehensive immigration bill. He says a Senate-passed bill would pass the House if brought up for a vote.
But that hasn't happened, he says, because a small faction in the House opposes the bill.
Obama says that opposition extends to a range of pressing issues, including passing a budget and increasing the government's ability to borrow money to pay its bills.
Obama spoke Wednesday to business leaders meeting in Washington. He has been using the fifth anniversary of the financial crisis to push his economic proposals.
Obama insists he won't negotiate to raise the debt ceiling, though the talks in 2011 yielded a deficit-cutting bargain. The White House especially rejects any attempt to defund or delay the health care law.
Republican leaders note that it's not unusual for debt ceiling increases to be tied to budget deals, though several borrowing limits during past administrations have been raised with few or no strings attached.
"No one is threatening to default," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. "The president only uses these scare tactics to avoid having to show the courage needed to deal with our coming debt crisis. Every major deficit deal in the last 30 years has been tied to a debt limit increase, and this time should be no different."