After averting a so-called fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts last week, Congress has moved on to the debate over the debt ceiling.
Republicans say they want spending cuts in exchange for raising the amount of money the U.S. Treasury is allowed to borrow.
Democrats say there should not be a showdown over raising the debt ceiling, a move they say is necessary to avoid hurting the U.S. economy.
"At the heart of this debt ceiling debate is whether or not we're going to continue to reduce the deficit," Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said on CNN's "State Of The Union." "I think we need to do it in a thoughtful way and the president said as long as it's balanced he's open to the conversation."
"We have this massive debt and deficit not because we tax too little but because we spend too much," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on CBS' "Face The Nation." "The question is now will the president now pivot and address the single biggest issue confronting our country and its future, and that's reducing spending."
President Barack Obama has said he is not willing to negotiate over whether to raise the debt ceiling, saying Congress has to pay the bills it is already racked up.
He is now back in Washington, D.C. after a vacation in Hawaii that was interrupted by the fiscal cliff crisis.