President Obama hailed as "good news" word on Tuesday that the bipartisan Gang of Six senators presented a framework for a deficit reduction plan that includes tax revenues and is "in the same playing field" as what he hopes to accomplish in talks with Congress.
Stepping into the White House briefing room after word emerged that Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., had rejoined the effort with time ticking down to the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling, Obama called it "a very significant step."
"The hope is that everyone seizes this opportunity," Obama said. "I want to congratulate the Gang of Six for coming up with a plan I think is balanced."
Obama said he had talked with congressional leaders and felt that beginning on Wednesday, lawmakers would be "ready to start talking turkey."
Of a fallback plan being developed by Senate leaders Harry Reid , D-Nev., and Mitch McConnell , R-Ky., to raise the debt limit with a limited package of cuts, Obama said it "continues to be a necessary approach to put forward in the event that we don't get an agreement. At minimum, we've got to raise the debt ceiling."
The president made clear that policymakers are running out of time.
"So far, the markets have shown confidence that leadership here in Washington are not going to send the economy over a cliff," Obama said. "If we continue to go through a lot of political posturing … markets here, the American people and the international community are going to start reacting adversely."
"It's time to get down to the business of solving this problem, and we are now seeing the potential for a bipartisan consensus," he added.