President Barack Obama on Wednesday predicted that he would reach a deal with his Republican foes to deflate the swollen US national debt.
"We will reach a deal that will require our government to live within its means, and give our businesses confidence, and get this economy moving," Obama declared at a White House press conference.
But the president said that both Republicans and his Democratic allies would have to accept the goring of some "sacred cows" in tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans and cuts on spending on cherished programs in order to reach an agreement.
"The tax cuts I'm proposing we get rid of are tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, tax breaks for oil companies and hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners," said Obama.
Democrats have already accepted that "there are things that are good programs and nice to have. We cannot afford them right now," said the president, who has taken charge of negotiations with Republicans.
Obama forecast that the hard-fought talks would yield an accord that would pave the way for the US Congress to approve an increase in the US debt ceiling.
"Nobody wants to put the credit-worthiness of the United States in jeopardy. Nobody wants to see the United States default. So we have to seize this moment. We have to seize it soon," he said.