President Obama: Republicans Opposing Debt Limit Increase Are 'Deadbeat'

Credit: John Raoux/AP Photo

Setting the stage for the looming debt debate, President Obama today accused his Republican opponents of being "deadbeat" for refusing to raise the nation's debt limit this fall without cuts in spending.

"Threatening that you won't pay the bills in this country when we've already racked up those bills, that's not an economic plan," the president said. "That's just being a deadbeat."

Obama is aiming to reframe the public debate with a series of speeches highlighting his economic agenda and blasting Republicans for standing in the way of progress before the familiar deficit negotiations begin anew.

Republicans have criticized the president's campaign, saying it's long on promises and short on substance.

"At some point, campaign season has to end and the working-with-others season has to begin," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said on the floor of the Senate today. "At some point, you have to stop promising an 'ocean of tomorrows' and start actually working with the representatives of the people. Because let's be clear: Americans aren't worried about how many tomorrows there are to come, they're worried about what those tomorrows will bring."

Today, Obama, speaking at the Port Authority in Jacksonville, Fla., said the House Republican budget is a "bad bargain for the middle class."

"At a time when we need to make investments to create jobs and strengthen the middle class and grow our economy, because we've got competition coming from all around the world, you know, we've got some of the House Republicans who've put forward a budget that does just the opposite," he said. "They're pushing bills that would cut education, cut science, cut research, prevent us from meeting these priorities."

Obama touted infrastructure projects that he helped expedite through executive order, saying "the world can't wait for Congress to get its act together."

"If we don't make the necessary investments to ensure that America's a magnet for good jobs - investments in education, manufacturing, research, and transportation and information networks - we're just waving the white flag of surrender to other countries as they forge ahead in this global economy," he said.

JAXPORT, as the port authority is called, is home to two construction projects that benefited from expedited permitting under a 2012 executive order, according to the White House. Obama also toured a container terminal where a new container facility and rail yard are being built under that expediting program.

"The businesses of tomorrow will not locate near old roads, outdated ports," Obama said. "They're going to go to places where the ports are good, the roads are good, the rail lines are good, you've got high-speed Internet, you've got high-tech schools, trained workers, systems that move air traffic and auto traffic faster."

"We've got to create more jobs today doing what you're doing right here at JAXPORT and that's building this country's future," he said.

Obama pledged to continue to work around Congress going forward.

"Where I can act on my own, I'm gonna act on my own," he said