Earlier in the press conference, Mr. Obama took aim at Republicans who said the government can still pay off its creditors if the debt limit is crossed, thus avoiding default, by choosing not to cover its other obligations.
"So are we really going to start paying interest to Chinese who hold treasuries and we're not going to pay folks their Social Security checks or we're not going to pay veterans for their disability checks?" he asked. "I mean, which bills -- which obligations are we going to say we don't have to pay?"
"These are bills that Congress ran up," he added. "The money's been spent. The obligations have been made."