WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- The White House on Sunday urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling to avert a default on U.S. debts, while the country still faces the arduous task of strengthening the middle class.
"The last thing we can afford right now is a decision from Congress to throw our economy back into crisis by refusing to pay our country's bills or shutting down the government," the White House said in a report released on Sunday.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told Congress last month that the federal government will reach its debt ceiling of 16.7 trillion U.S. dollars by mid-October, urging Congress to raise the government's borrowing authority in a timely manner. However, Republican lawmakers insisted that a debt ceiling increase should be in line with spending cuts, which would threaten a government shutdown.
The report, written by White House economists, stated how five years ago this week, a financial crisis unlike any in this generation rocked Wall Street, turning a recession already hammering Main Street into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In the months before President Obama took office, U.S. businesses were shedding 800,000 jobs a month.
Obama acted quickly to rescue the auto industry. He cut taxes for middle-class families, and kept teachers in the classrooms and first responders on the streets. He took on Wall Street, ended taxpayer bailouts, put in place tough new rules on big banks, and established new consumer protections that cracked down on the worst practices of mortgage lenders and credit card companies, according to the report.
"As President Obama has said, we're not where we need to be yet -- the challenges facing the middle class weren't created overnight, and they won't be solved overnight. That's why we need to keep building on that foundation by focusing on the cornerstones of a strong, secure middle-class life: a good job, a quality education, a home of your own, affordable health care when you need it, and a secure retirement," the report said.
Obama also said on Sunday, during an interview with the ABC News, that he will not negotiate with his Republican rivals on raising the U.S. debt ceiling and the nation should continue making investments in education, research and infrastructure.