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President Obama on Deficit Reduction: “If Not Now, When?”

Summary: 
President Obama hosts a news conference at the White House to discuss the status of efforts to find a balanced approach on deficit reduction.
President Barack Obama responds to a question during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

President Barack Obama responds to a question during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on the status of efforts to find a balanced approach to the debt limit and deficit reduction, July 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Today, President Obama hosted a news conference at the White House to discuss the status of efforts to find a balanced approach on deficit reduction.  Over the weekend, the President and Vice President met with Congressional leadership at the White House as part of the ongoing negotiations. 

During his remarks, the President encouraged members of Congress on both sides to work together to solve our long term deficit problems now, rather than finding short term solutions:

I will not sign a 30-day or a 60-day or a 90-day extension.  That is just not an acceptable approach.  And if we think it’s going to be hard -- if we think it’s hard now, imagine how these guys are going to be thinking six months from now in the middle of election season where they’re all up.  It’s not going to get easier.  It’s going to get harder.  So we might as well do it now -- pull off the Band-Aid; eat our peas.  (Laughter.)  Now is the time to do it.  If not now, when? 

We keep on talking about this stuff and we have these high-minded pronouncements about how we've got to get control of the deficit and how we owe it to our children and our grandchildren. Well, let's step up.  Let's do it.  I'm prepared to do it.  I'm prepared to take on significant heat from my party to get something done.  And I expect the other side should be willing to do the same thing -- if they mean what they say that this is important.

Check out the video of the President’s press conference or use the jump links to skip to the answers to questions you’re most interested in.

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The questions below are paraphrased from the questions asked by reporters during the news conference: