Obama warns Republicans as positions harden in US fiscal showdown
WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama warned Republicans on Wednesday not to hold the United States economy hostage in a new feud over raising government borrowing, as battle lines hardened in the "fiscal cliff" showdown.
Mr Obama and Republican foes accused one another of intransigence as vital hours ticked away without serious negotiations on averting a year-end tax and spending crunch that could trigger a new recession without an 11th hour deal.
The President courted CEOs in Washington, and pledged to reject any deal that let Republicans wield new leverage next year over lifting the US debt ceiling - the amount the government can borrow to operate and pay its debts.
The New York Times had earlier reported that Republicans may bow to his demand to hike taxes on the rich this month, but then renew their austerity crusade when Obama asks for the debt ceiling to be raised in early 2013.