The government's budget deficit is declining and the United States should increase investment in key areas, including infrastructure and research, to improve its business environment and bolster economic growth, President Obama on Tuesday said.

The nation should deal with its fiscal problem "in a sensible way" and Republicans should not hold the national and global economy hostage due to policy differences, he said at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council annual meeting held here.

"The impact of the shutdown and the threat of default, I think, not only did some significant damage to the economy at a time when we didn't need self-inflicted wounds, but it also spoke to some of the larger problems we've seen here in Washington," the President said.

It highlighted "the sense of dysfunction and the seeming incapacity of both parties in Congress to work together to advance an agenda that's going to help us grow", Obama added. After the 16-day partial federal government shutdown started on October 1, Democrats and Republicans inked a short-term deal to fund the government through January 15 and lifted the government's debt limit through February 7.

"What's holding us back is not a lack of good policy ideas or even what used to be considered good bipartisan policy ideas. We just have to break through the stubborn cycle of crisis politics and start working together," Obama said.

Both parties can bridge their differences and work on US corporate tax reform to lower tax rates, broaden the tax base and close some loopholes, he suggested."We would have a grand bargain for middle-class jobs that combines tax reform with a financing mechanism that lets us create jobs, rebuilding infrastructure that your business depend on," Obama said.


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