Transcript for President Obama: 'We Are Poised for A Good Year'
This is an ABC news special report. And a good morning to you I'm Diane Sawyer here with George Stephanopoulos we are joining you on the air because the president about to hold the final press conference -- his first term one week from today. Hundreds of thousands of people descending on Washington for his second inauguration 57. In the history of this country but he's already deep into the showdown on big issue. That's right looking ahead to his next confrontation with congress over the debt limit that's -- and hit in about a month. Present will also take questions on gun control no question we're one month away from the sandy hook shooting -- head. Vice president Biden's report on his recommendations. To prevent gun gun violence that's coming tomorrow that's right tomorrow it will happen ABC's senior White House correspondent Jonathan Karl is there. At the White House and you're in the east true John Roddick. That's right here in -- -- you can expect -- that the president will lay down a very strong marker on that issue of the debt ceiling -- The federal government will hit the limit of how much when he can borrow in about four -- five weeks the president says congress must raise that he will not negotiate on terms it is simply their responsibility. That puts the president squarely at odds with Republicans who say they able to -- spending cuts. Before raising that debt ceiling the president has basically taken in my way or the highway approach this he says that he will not engage in negotiations period it's simply congress' responsibility to act. He's also ruled that Diane any unilateral workarounds. To this negotiation with congress is saying -- -- -- congress is Jon -- -- pointed out. Has an -- out of here we go again it certainly doesn't have so many times back in August 2011 again just before the end. This year the president a major confrontation with the congress over fiscal issues taxes spending and debt. It could define his second term as well and you're looking at the door slightly ajar to the green room. Right next to the east room. And the president has been gathering -- we know that he's postponed this press conference a couple of times this morning just a few delays wonder if they're still working on exactly what they're going to -- when he washed out supposed to get around 1115 were almost a half hour after that not quite. President could also face questions about personnel. In the second term is facing a big fight. With the senate over his nominee for the Pentagon Chuck Hagel we saw Colin Powell come out strong defense. -- Chuck Hill yesterday but a lot of Republican senators with questions he also has a big vacancy right now. -- and that's as White House chief of staff now he's appointed Jack -- his chief of staff to be Treasury Secretary in the second. All right -- all these -- issues you wonder if he's had a moment to stop in Sadr himself first term. Ending you wonder if they'll be an element of reflection and today as the second one begins and what ever. The honeymoon is that you usually -- if your new president is the -- honeymoon. He's been facing and -- announced the president. Please have cedar road good morning. Thought it might make sense to take some questions this week as my first term comes to an end. It's been a busy and productive for years and I expect the same for the next four years. And -- to carry out the agenda that I campaigned on an agenda for new jobs. New opportunity. And new security for the middle class. Now right now our economy is growing and our businesses are creating new jobs so we are poised for a good year. If we make Smart decisions and sound investments. And as long as Washington baltics don't get in the way of America's progress. As I serve on the campaign. One component to grow our economy and broadening opportunity for the middle class. Is shrinking our deficits. In a balance and responsible way. And for nearly two years now I've been fighting for such a plan. When that would reduce our deficits by four trillion dollars over the next decade which would stabilize our debt. Our deficit and sustainable way for the next -- That would be enough not only to stop the growth of our debt probe of the size of our economy but it would make it manageable. So doesn't crowd out the investments we need to. -- people and education and job training in science and medical research all the things that help us will. Step by step we've made progress towards that goal. Over the past -- years I've signed in the law about one point four trillion dollars in spending cuts. Two weeks ago I signed into law more than 600 billion dollars in new revenue by making sure the wealthiest Americans begin to pay their fair share. When you add the money the will save an interest payments on the debt. Altogether that adds up to a total of about 2.5. Trillion dollars in depths -- reduction over the past two years. Not counting the 400 billion dollars already saved from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So we've made progress. We are moving towards. Our ultimate goal of getting to -- four trillion dollar reduction up. And there will be more deficit reduction when congress decides what to do about the one point two trillion dollars in automatic spending cuts that. Have been pushed off until next month. The fact is though we can't finish the job of -- of reduction through spending cuts along. The cuts we've already made to priorities other than Medicare Medicaid social security and defense. Mean that we spend. On everything from education to public safety. Less as a share of our economy. Than it has -- has been trooper generation. And that's not a recipe for growth. So we've got to do more -- to stabilize our finances over the medium and long term. But also spur more growth in the short term. I've said -- I'm open to making modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to protect them for future generations. I've also said that we need more revenue. Through tax reform by closing loopholes and our tax -- for the wealthiest Americans. If we combined a balanced package of savings from spending on health care and revenues from closing loopholes. We can solve the deficit issue without sacrificing. Our investments in things like education that are gonna help us grow. Turns -- the American people agree with me. They listened to an entire year's debate over this issue. And they made a clear decision about the approach they prefer they don't think it's fair for example to ask a senior pay more for his or her health care. Or scientist to shut down lifesaving search so that a multimillionaire investor can pay less. In tax rates them a secretary. They don't think it's Smart to protect and -- corporate loopholes and tax breaks. For the wealthiest Americans rather than rebuild our roads -- schools invest in our workers' skills or help manufacturers. Bring jobs back to America. They want us to get our books in order in a balanced way where everybody pulls -- wait. Everyone does their part. That's -- one as well that's what -- propose. And we can get it done. But we're gonna have to make sure that people are looking at this any responsible way. Rather than just through the -- of politics. The other congressionally imposed deadline coming up as the so called debt -- Something most Americans. And even heard of before two years ago. I want to be clear about this. The debt ceiling is not a question of all -- more spending. Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending it's simply allows the country to pay for spending. That congress has already committed took. These are. Bills that have already been racked up. And we need to pay it. So while I'm willing to compromise and find common ground over how to reduce our deficits. America cannot afford another debate -- this congress about whether or not. They should pay the bills they've already racked up. If congressional Republicans refuse to pay America's bills on time. Social Security checks and veterans' benefits will be -- We might not be able to pay our troops -- -- our contracts with small business office. Food inspectors air traffic controllers. Specialists who tracked down lose nuclear materials wouldn't get their paychecks. Investors around the world will ask if the United States of America is in fact a safe bat. Markets could go haywire interest rates would spike for anybody who borrows money. Every homeowner with a mortgage every student with a college loan every small business owner who wants to grow -- -- It would be. A self inflicted wound up on the economy. He would -- our growth my activists in a recession. And ironically it would probably increase our deficit. So to even entertain the idea of this happening of the United States of America not paying its bills. Is irresponsible. It's absurd. As the speaker said two years ago. It would be and I'm quoting speaker Boehner now a financial disaster not only for us but for the worldwide -- -- So we got a -- belts. And Republicans in congress have two choices here they can act responsibly and pay. America's bills. Where they can act irresponsibly and put America through another economic crisis. But they will not collect -- ransom in exchange for not -- the American economy. The financial well being of the American people is not leverage to be used. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not be bargaining chip. And they better -- quickly because time is running short. Last summer -- and congress even flirted with this idea are triple -- credit rating was downgraded for the first time in our history. Our businesses created the fewest jobs of any month in nearly the past three years. And ironically the whole fiasco. Actually added to the depths. What should be surprising given all this talk with the American people think Washington is hurting rather than helping. The country at the moment. They -- the representatives consumed with partisan brinksmanship over paying our bills. While they overwhelmingly wants to focus on growing the economy and creating more jobs. Let's finish this debate. Let's give our businesses and the world the certain -- that our economy and our reputation our stole second tonight. We pay our bills we handle our business. Memory to move off because America's lot to do. Got to create more jobs got a boost the wages of those who have work we've got to reach for energy independence we've got to reform our immigration system. We've got to give our children the best education possible and we've got to do everything we can't. To protect them from the horrors of gun violence. And let me say I'm grateful to vice president Vice President Biden. For his work on to this. Issue. Gun violence. And for his proposals which. I'm going to be reviewing today and I will address the next few days and I intend to vigorously pursue.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.