Obama presses Congress — again — for debt deal 

President Obama took to the bully pulpit Monday, a day after a White House meeting with congressional leaders failed to produce any progress on a debt-ceiling agreement, ratcheting up pressure on lawmakers to “reach the largest possible deal” as the clock ticks closer to the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the U.S. borrowing limit.

It marked the second time in recent weeks that Obama took his case to the public from the presidential podium, underscoring the massive schism between the two camps and the political importance of avoiding the potentially perilous economic fallout of not raising the debt ceiling.

“Now is the time to deal with these issues; if not now when,” Obama said, declaring that he would not accept any “stopgap” package. “What I’ve said to them is ‘let’s go.’"

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, backed out of negotiations over cutting $4 trillion over the next decade, saying the House would never pass the $800 billion in tax increases pushed by the White House.

After the breakdown, Obama repeatedly attributed the stalemate to conservative Republicans, saying he had “bent over backwards” to meet their spending-cut demands — and that GOP lawmakers should move to the middle on closing tax loopholes.

 “[Speaker Boehner’s] politics within his caucus are very difficult,” Obama said. “This is part of the problem with a political process where folks are rewarded for saying irresponsible things.”

 "I don’t see a path to a deal if they don’t budge period,” he added.

 Obama and Vice President Biden will meet with congressional leadership at 2 p.m. Monday at the White House, one of many meetings expected to take place there in coming days.

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Brian Hughes

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