Obama: 'We won't be held to ransom by Republicans'


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The Independent US

President Barack Obama took an aggressive stance in the row with Republicans over raising America's debt limit yesterday, saying he would not allow them to use the threat of America defaulting and a government shut-down to extract concessions from him on spending cuts.

They cannot "collect a ransom for crashing the US economy", he declared, one week before his swearing-in for a second term.

He urged Congress to reach agreement on raising the debt ceiling as quickly as possible. "The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip. And they better decide quickly because time is running short," the President, above, said.

The stand-off could come to a head next month when the money will run out for America to pay all its bills without a debt ceiling increase.

"We have got to stop lurching from crisis to crisis," Mr Obama added, referring to the recent fiscal cliff issue. His remarks were partly designed to garner public support for his stance and to ensure that if a government shutdown does occur it will be the Republicans who are blamed first.