Obama called the GOP stance "irresponsible" and "absurd" and warned it would set off an economic crisis. He said the United States was not a "deadbeat nation" that fails to pay its bills.
"They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy," Obama said during his final news conference of his first term in office. "The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."
He said Americans would hold all of Washington responsible for the fallout.
"It would be a self-inflicted wound on the economy," Obama said. "It would slow down our growth and tip us into recession. To even entertain the idea of this happening is irresponsible. It's absurd."
Obama reiterated that he won't negotiate on the debt ceiling debate. He said he's willing to have a conversation about ways to reduce the deficit, but the debt ceiling must be raised.
"We've got to break the habit of negotiating through crisis over and over again," he said.
Republican leaders weren't backing down.
"The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time. The consequences of failing to increase the debt ceiling are real, but so, too, are the consequences of allowing our spending problem to go unresolved," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement after Obama's news conference. "Without meaningful action, the debt will continue to act as an anchor on our economy, costing American jobs and endangering our children's future."
"I do know that the most important issue confronting the future of our country is our deficit and debt," McConnell said. "So we are hoping for a new seriousness on the part of the president with regard to the single biggest issue confronting the country, and we look forward to working with him to do something about this huge, huge problem."
(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)