WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama warned Republicans on Wednesday against picking another fight over the nation's debt ceiling, telling business leaders that it's "not a game that I will play."
Obama said in remarks to the Business Roundtable that he was aware of reports that Republicans may be willing to agree to higher tax rates on the wealthy as a way to avert the looming "fiscal cliff" and then come back next year with more leverage to extract spending cuts from the White House in exchange for raising the government's borrowing limit.
"That is a bad strategy for America, it's a bad strategy for your businesses and it's not a game that I will play," Obama said, recalling the "catastrophe that happened in August of 2011."
The president's cautionary tone to congressional Republicans came amid a standoff over the looming fiscal cliff, a series of automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled for the end of the year that could undermine the nation's economic recovery. Negotiations have focused on whether tax rates for the wealthy should increase, how deeply to cut spending on entitlements such as Medicare and how to deal with raising the government's borrowing limit early next year.
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