Obama says refusal to lift debt ceiling would hurt economy

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama warned Congress on Monday that a refusal to raise the US debt ceiling next month would trigger economic chaos.

Mr Obama, at a news conference, said the US economy was poised for a good year as long as Washington politics did not interfere.

He said a Republican refusal to lift the debt ceiling could lead the United States into a debt default, which would prevent the US government from being able to provide Social Security benefits to some seniors and possibly tip the economy into recession.

"It would be a self-inflicted wound on the economy," Mr Obama said.

Mr Obama argued that he has agreed to plenty of government spending cuts and that it was now time for an overhaul of the tax code to close loopholes and for some modest tinkering with entitlement programmes to reach a balanced deficit-reduction package.

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