Obama Signs Debt Ceiling Deal

The president wasted no time getting the debt deal signed after the Senate cleared it Tuesday afternoon. He may think it's a far cry from the far-reaching "grand bargain" he sought, but it was better than the prospect of default.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

MICHELE NORRIS, host: And I'm Michele Norris. President Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 today without a lot of fanfare. There was no scene of politicians high-fiving each other, and Mr. Obama said that during the long and contentious debate, Congress took its eye off the bigger challenge of boosting job growth. NPR's Scott Horsley has the story from the White House.

SCOTT HORSLEY: By agreeing to raise the federal debt ceiling just hours before the deadline, members of Congress prevented an economic crisis. But even as Washington breathed the sigh of relief this afternoon, President Obama reminded everyone this was a manufactured crisis that probably weakened the economy when it hardly needed another blow.

President BARACK OBAMA: It shouldn't take the risk of default, the risk of economic catastrophe to get folks in this town to work together and do their jobs, because there's already a quiet crisis going on in the lives of a lot of families in a lot of communities all across the country. They're looking for work, and they have been for a while.

HORSLEY: Mr. Obama says while deficit reduction is important, it can't be the only agenda driving Washington, especially when most Americans are more concerned about high unemployment. When Congress returns from its summer recess, Mr. Obama will renew his calls for government efforts to encourage job growth, including financing for public works projects, trade deals to boost exports and an extension of the payroll tax cut.

OBAMA: If you've got more money in your paycheck, you're more likely to spend it. And that means small businesses and medium-sized businesses and large businesses will all have more customers. That means they'll be in a better position to hire.

HORSLEY: One political challenge in the short run is that many efforts to spur job growth are likely to make the deficit worse. Scott Horsley, NPR News, the White House.

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