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President Obama's Weekly Address: Warns Debt Ceiling Fight Could Be 'Catastrophic'

Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images(HONOLULU) -- In his first weekly address of the New Year, President Obama touts the "fiscal cliff" compromise as "one more step in the broader effort to grow our economy and shrink our deficits" but warns that another "manufactured crisis" over the debt ceiling could wreak havoc on the economy.

Continuing his effort to frame the looming fight over the nation's debt limit, Obama makes clear "one thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they’ve already racked up."

"If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic," he continues. "The last time Congress threatened this course of action, our entire economy suffered for it."

Speaking from Hawaii, where the president is vacationing with his family, Obama cautions that another "messy brinksmanship" in Congress would make business owners and consumers less confident.

By the end of February, lawmakers must deal with the need to raise the nation's debt ceiling and tackle the delayed across-the-board sequester cuts.

Obama vows to do more to reduce the deficit but continues to insist that any future spending cuts must be balanced with tax reforms.

"The wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations shouldn’t be able to take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans," he says.

"If we focus on the interests of our country above the interests of party, I’m convinced we can cut spending and raise revenue in a manner that reduces our deficit and protects the middle class," he concludes. "These aren’t just things we should do – they’re things we must do.  And in this New Year, I’ll fight as hard as I know how to get them done."

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