In his weekly address, President Barack Obama appealed to the public in hopes of influencing a deal that talks have failed to produce so far.
"We have to ask everyone to play their part because we are all part of the same country," Obama said Saturday, pushing a combination of spending cuts and tax increases that has met stiff resistance from Republicans. "We are all in this together."
He said both sides need to make compromises even if they are politically unpopular.
"It means spending less on defense programs," said Obama. "It means reforming programs like Medicare to reduce costs and strengthen the program for future generations. And it means taking on the tax code, and cutting out certain tax breaks and deductions for the wealthiest Americans."
"Washington refuses to make the tough choices that will bring down our massive debt," said Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. "They know that we need immediate spending cuts, they know we need to cap spending, they know we need a balanced budget amendment."
Obama had held five straight days of meeting with congressional leaders at the White House, but none of the three options he proposed- deficit cuts of $4 trillion, $2 trillion or $1.5 trillion over 10 years- were unlocking enough support to increase the debt ceiling by the $2.4 trillion Obama wants to make it last beyond the 2012 elections.
The government said Friday it was using its last stopgap measure to avoid exceeding the current $14.3 trillion debt limit. Financial experts warn that a government default could be catastrophic.
The Associated Press contributed to this story