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Obama looks to take broader action to boost economy

With the ‘‘fiscal cliff’’ crisis barely over, President Obama faces new battles in Congress over raising the country’s $16.4 trillion borrowing limit, as well as more than $100 billion in automatic spending cuts.

AFP/Getty Images/File

With the ‘‘fiscal cliff’’ crisis barely over, President Obama faces new battles in Congress over raising the country’s $16.4 trillion borrowing limit, as well as more than $100 billion in automatic spending cuts.

HONOLULU — President Obama hailed a last-minute deal that avoids the so-called fiscal cliff but said it is just one step in a broader effort to boost the economy and shrink federal deficits.

Obama said in his radio and Internet address Saturday that the new law — approved by Congress on New Year’s Day and signed Thursday — raises taxes on the wealthiest Americans while preventing a middle-class tax increase that could have thrown the economy back into recession.

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With the ‘‘fiscal cliff’’ crisis barely over, Obama faces new battles in Congress over raising the country’s $16.4 trillion borrowing limit, as well as more than $100 billion in automatic spending cuts for the military and domestic programs which were delayed by two months under the compromise.

Lawmakers promise to replace those across-the-board cuts with more targeted steps that could take longer to implement.

Obama, speaking from Hawaii where he is on vacation with his family, said he is willing to consider more spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit.

But Obama said he ‘‘will not compromise’’ over his insistence that Congress lift the federal debt ceiling. The nation’s credit rating was downgraded the last time lawmakers threatened inaction on the debt ceiling, in 2011.

‘‘Our families and our businesses cannot afford that dangerous game again,’’ the president said.

If elected officials from both parties ‘‘focus on the interests of our country above the interests of party, I’m convinced we can cut spending and raise revenue in a manner that reduces our deficit and protects the middle class,’’ Obama said.

In the Republican address, Representative Dave Camp of Michigan said that as attention again turns to the debt limit, ‘‘we must identify responsible ways to tackle Washington’s wasteful spending.’’

President’s national security leadership picks expected

WASHINGTON — President Obama may round out his new national security leadership team this week, with a nomination for defense secretary expected and a choice to lead the CIA possible.

Former Republican senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is the front-runner for the top Pentagon post.
Acting CIA Director Michael Morell and Obama counterterrorism adviser John Brennan are leading contenders to head the spy agency.

White House aides said the president won’t make his final decisions until he returns from Hawaii. He is due back in Washington on Sunday morning.

McChrystal takes blame for Rolling Stone article

WASHINGTON — Speaking out for the first time since he resigned, retired General Stanley McChrystal has taken the blame for a Rolling Stone article, and the unflattering comments attributed to his staff about the Obama administration, that ended his Afghan command and Army career.

‘‘Regardless of how I judged the story for fairness or accuracy, responsibility was mine,’’ he wrote in his new memoir, which offers a carefully worded denouncement of the story.

McChrystal added that the choice to resign as US commander in Afghanistan was his.

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