Obama and eight top House and Senate leaders assembled in the White House Cabinet Room for about 90 minutes during a rare session, less than 24 hours after House Speaker John Boehner abandoned plans to negotiate a massive $4 trillion deal for reducing the debt.
Obama said they need to work out a deal within the next 10 days to reduce the deficit over the next 10 years.
Despite Boehner's preference for a smaller, $2 trillion plan for deficit reduction, White House aides said Sunday that Obama would press the lawmakers to accept the larger deal.
The president was willing to put Social Security - considered a sacred cow to Democrats - on the table, as well as make major changes to the tax code.
While Republicans like the idea of cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, Democrats don't.
The government will no longer be able to borrow to pay its bills after the Aug. 2 deadline.
The Associated Press contributed to this story