WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — President Barack Obama says it is “absurd” that Republicans would threaten to let the United States default on its loans.

During a press conference Monday, Obama vowed not to be held hostage by Republicans.

“To even entertain this happening … is irresponsible. It’s absurd,” Obama said.

Obama added that the U.S. is “not a deadbeat nation.”

“(Republicans) will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the economy,” he said at the final news conference of his first term. “The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip. And they better decide quickly because time is running short.”

The debt limit is currently at $16.4 trillion and the Treasury Department is expected to hit it by mid-February or early March, according to CBS News.

CBS News reports that Republicans are willing to threaten a default or a government shutdown in order to get the spending cuts they want in the next round of debt talks.

“I think it is possible that we would shut down the government to make sure President Obama understands that we’re serious,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., told Politico. “We always talk about whether or not we’re going to kick the can down the road. I think the mood is that we’ve come to the end of the road.”

Obama said that failure to raise the debt limit would “blow up the economy.”

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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