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Obama Needs to Step Up and Make a Deal on Debt Ceiling, Sen. Lamar Alexander Says


"It's unpopular stuff...but that's why we have presidents."

Don't look now, but another debt ceiling showdown is quickly approaching Washington. After suspending the country's legal borrowing limit at $16.394 trillion as part of a compromise in February, the debt ceiling automatically reset this past Sunday increasing $265 billion. The CBO estimates another debt ceiling increase can be avoided until October or November. 

Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander says President Barack Obama needs to make a deal with Republicans sooner than later to avoid another political showdown and address the nation's biggest issue: Debt.

"If we don't fix the debt this country is going to be in deep, deep trouble -- It's our number one issue," the former Tennessee governor said in an interview with TheBlaze contributor Mallory Factor

Alexander said Obama is speaking with Republicans on the debt in a way now that he wishes the president had done three or four years ago.

"The president needs to put a proposal on the table," Alexander said in a video interview (below) from TheBlaze newsroom in New York. "If I were him I'd work it out with a few Republican senators so that when he does it he knows he has some support on our side of the aisle, then it needs to go through the regular process in the open light of day.

"This is the kind of presidential leadership we need, of the kind that President Johnson gave on civil rights, of the kind that President Nixon did on China, that President Carter did on the Panama Canal, that President Clinton did on welfare reform that  President Reagan did on social security -- it's unpopular stuff," Alexander continued. "Particularly for President Obama to change the benefit structure for payments for medicare for his own party, but that's why we have presidents." 

During the interview, Alexander elaborated on his support of the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states to require online and catalog out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax. Civil libertarian groups have come out in strong opposition to the legislation. 

Alexander explains he supports the act because "it's a states rights bill," and would be a tax on what's already owed.

"I trust our Republican governor and legislature to make the decisions about Tennesee tax policy a lot more than I do Washington D.C."

Over the last two weeks Alexander, has been calling attention to another scandal brewing within the Obama administration, this time at the Department of Health and Human Services.

As The Washington Post reported earlier this month, HHS Secretary Kathy Sebelius has been calling on health industry officials to make large financial donations to help implement ObamaCare after Congress repeatedly rejected administration requests for additional funding. Enroll America, a nonprofit group that the Post reports many of Sebelius's calls have gone to, is led by a former White house staffer.

Alexander is the ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and has said Sebelius's private fundraising with Enroll America may be in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act, comparing the new HHS scandal to the Iran-Contra affair.

"Thats not allowed by the Constitution, and that's illegal under a number of federal statutes," Alexander told TheBlaze.

Watch the Tennessee Senator's full interview below where he also addresses the state of bipartisanship in Washington, the filibuster, recent Obama recess appointments, and outstanding student loans:

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