WASHINGTON (January 14, 2013)--President Barack Obama said Monday Congress' failure to raise the government's borrowing authority would delay payments of benefits to veterans and Social Security recipients and again warned that he will not negotiate on raising the debt ceiling, aiming to pin the burden of an unprecedented default on congressional Republicans.
The government has hit its $16.4 trillion borrowing limit and is expected to run out of ways to meet all of its obligations around March 1 if not earlier.
Republicans want spending cuts tied to raising the debt ceiling.
Threatening to not raise the debt ceiling, Mr. Obama said, is "absurd."
Without an increase, the government would not have enough money to pay interest to debt holders and pay for all government programs.
The president also said Monday he’s reviewing a list of proposals from Vice President Joe Biden about how to reduce gun violence and expects to present specifics later this week.
Mr. Obama said stronger background checks, a meaningful ban on assault weapons and limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines are all ideas he thinks make sense.
He said he's not sure how many of those measures can pass Congress.
Mr. Obama said he expects Congress to set aside politics and focus on common-sense steps that can make a difference.
He asked Biden to lead a task force on ways to reduce violence after the December massacre in Newtown, Conn., that killed 27 people, mostly children.