In a blunt challenge to Republicans in Congress, President Barack Obama insisted Wednesday that limiting selected tax breaks for oil companies and the super-wealthy must be part of any deficit reduction plan.

“That’s not radical,” he said at a White House news conference. He was quick to add that a bipartisan agreement is possible to cut deficits, raise the government’s debt limit and avert a threatened financial crisis.

Republicans in Congress have been insistent in recent days that any deficit reduction be limited to spending cuts, including reductions in benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and exclude additional revenues.

But Obama said both parties must be prepared to “take on their sacred cows” as part of the deficit-reduction negotiations.

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