Nightly News | April 10, 2011
>>> if you think the budget battles enlded with the last-minute deal that uprooted a government shutdown this weekend, think again. there's a much bigger battle on the way. nbc mike viqira.
>> reporter: it'll be the opening of a battle that will make last week's fight over spending look like a minor squirmish. now comes the hard part. bringing down the country's soaring debt. today aides say the obama plan will include the review of popular but costly reforms for seniors.
>> you'll have to look at medicaid and medicare and see what savings you get. in the process of sitting down and talking about spendings and programs, if there can be a discussion about how to strengthen social security in the future.
>> reporter: republicans already have their own plan set for a house vote this week that would dramatically reform medicare and medicaid .
>> we've got to get our spending under control because that's the root cause of our problem. yes, if you get deficit reduction and deficit and debt under control, that's going to help the economy today.
>> reporter: why the urgency? simply put, the threat of a government default that could wreak havoc on the economy. today the national debt is $14.28 trillion and rising. in about a month it will inch above $14.29 trillion. that's the limit set by congress. in the past when that limit is reached, congress simply votes to raise it. not this time. fresh off friday's deal, house speaker john boehner says republicans won't agree to raise the limits. they have a concrete plan to bring down the debt.
>> i can just tell you this. there will not be an increase in the debt limit without something really, really big attached to it.
>> reporter: democrats call that playing politics with the economy and warn of a catastrophe if the limit isn't raised.
>> a disaster. a formula of playing with fire that could actually have the credit markets stop taking u.s. debt and create a recession.
>> reporter: meanwhile, a day after his surprise trip to the lincoln memorial , aides say that deal could be a model to head off coming fights.
>> we're going to have tough disagreements. it's going to be hard to bridge divides. we're going to have to find common ground. or else we're not going to move forward on education, growing the economy, on reducing our deficit.
>> reporter: lester, congress has yet to vote on the deal that was struck friday night. today there has been sniping from the left and the right. congress is expected to pass that and send it to the president by wednesday. lester?