Obama Calls GOP Debt Ceiling Demands an Assault on US 'Constitutional Structure'

WASHINGTON - On the eve of another fiscal showdown with congressional Republicans, President Obama is outright refusing to negotiate over an increase to the nation's debt limit, saying doing so would alter "the constitutional structure of this government entirely."

"What I haven't been willing to negotiate, and I will not negotiate, is on the debt ceiling," Obama told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview on "This Week."

"If we continue to set a precedent in which a president … is in a situation in which each time the United States is called upon to pay its bills, the other party can simply sit there and say, 'Well, we're not going to put - pay the bills unless you give us … what we want,' that changes the constitutional structure of this government entirely," Obama said.

Obama Rejects Criticism of Shifting Syria Policy: 'I'm Less Concerned About Style Points'

House Republicans, seeking to defund and delay implementation of the president's signature health care law, have sought to use the upcoming debt ceiling and government funding fights to extract concessions from the White House.

Obama says he is drawing a line in the sand.

"What has never happened in the past was the notion that in exchange for fulfilling the full faith and credit of the United States, that we are wiping away let's say major legislation like the health care bill," he told Stephanopoulos.

"Never in history have we used just making sure that the U.S. government is paying its bills as a lever to radically cut government at the kind of scale that they're talking about," he added.

The president said he believes there are areas of common ground between the parties on reforms to entitlement programs and the elimination of corporate tax loopholes. But, he said, an obstinate "faction" of the GOP is standing in the way of compromise.

Will Obama Stay Neutral in 2016?

"All I can do when it comes to that group of members of Congress is to continue to talk to 'em and say, 'Let's put aside our differences. Let's stay focused on the American people,'" Obama said. "If we do that, we can get things done."

ABC barack obama this week 2 jt 130914 16x9 608 Obama Calls GOP Debt Ceiling Demands an Assault on US Constitutional Structure

In the past three weeks, Obama and his top aides have been in direct contact with more than 450 members of Congress on the situation in Syria, holding private dinners, conference calls, small group briefings and visits to the White House.

Obama's personal outreach to members on fiscal debates has been historically less robust. The White House cancellation of the annual congressional picnic this month will likely not help bolster positive relations heading into the fall.

Like "This Week" on Facebook here . You can also follow the show on Twitter here .

Go here to find out when "This Week" is on in your area.

Also Read
Brought to you byYahoo! News Network