President Obama scolded Republicans and specifically House Speaker John Boehner in his nationwide television address Monday night. He said House Speaker John Boehner's recent proposal would only stall the decision another six months and would not be a complete solution to the problem.
Obama called the debate a "partisan three-ring circus" and was openly frustrated with resistance from the opposition. "The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn't vote for a dysfunctional government," the president said.
With only a week left until the August 2 deadline that could see the US default for the first time in its history, Obama expressed dismay over the stand-off in Washington.
"It is a dangerous game we've never played before, and we can't afford to play it now. Not when the jobs and livelihoods of so many families are at stake. We can't allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington's political warfare," the president said.
Obama accused the Republicans of using the raising of the debt ceiling, which he said was normally routine, as a lever to force the Democrats to agree to deep spending cuts that would hit the poorest in society while leaving the wealthiest unscathed.
He rejected a Republican proposal stop-gap deal, saying it would only mean the Republicans returning again next year to use the same tactics to seek more cutbacks.
House Speaker John Boehner was close by and spoke closely after the president. He accused the president of creating a 'crisis atmosphere' to hype up the issue and of not really wanting to approach the problem in a truly balanced way. "The president has often said we need a `balanced' approach, which in Washington means we spend more, you pay more," he said.
The public appearance on prime-time television did little to quell the fears of Americans and international onlookers or suggest the debate was coming to a compromise. Without a signed piece of legislation on the issue by August 2, the country will not be able to pay its bills and could push America to an unprecedented default.