WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday night criticized a newly minted Republican plan to avert an unprecedented government default and said congressional leaders must produce a compromise that can reach his desk before the Aug. 2 deadline.

“The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government,” the president said in a hastily arranged prime-time televised speech. He appealed to the public to contact lawmakers and demand “a balanced approach” to reducing federal deficits.

Obama stepped to the microphones a few hours after first Republicans, then Democrats drafted rival fallback legislation Monday to avert a potentially devastating government default in little more than a week.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

 

David Espo

AP Special Correspondent