Obama says he, Congress leaders reach deal

July 31, 2011 - 8:59 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have reached an agreement with him to raise the government's debt ceiling and avoid a default.

Obama told the nation on television that more than $2 trillion in spending cuts will be imposed gradually so they don't create a drag on the economy.

He said the spending cuts will reduce government spending to the lowest level it has been since when Dwight Eisenhower was president in the 1950s. He said there will be no initial cuts to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. But he said both could be on the table along with changes in tax law as part of future cuts.