News / USA

US Still Facing Tough Financial Choices

US Capitol building, Washington, D.C., Jan. 1, 2013.US Capitol building, Washington, D.C., Jan. 1, 2013.
x
US Capitol building, Washington, D.C., Jan. 1, 2013.
US Capitol building, Washington, D.C., Jan. 1, 2013.
VOA News
Even as the White House and congressional Republicans crafted an early 2013 tax and spending deal in Washington, they set the stage for more rancorous debate in the coming weeks over financial issues they sidestepped.
 
Now, U.S. President Barack Obama and his political foes in Congress will soon face contentious financial decisions that have proven difficult to resolve in the last two years, foremost among them, whether to once again increase the country's borrowing limit. The country reached its current $16.4 trillion debt ceiling earlier this week and can keep paying its bills for about two months.
 
Voting on Fiscal CliffVoting on Fiscal Cliff
x
Voting on Fiscal Cliff
Voting on Fiscal Cliff
But by then it will need to again raise the borrowing limit, or face an unprecedented circumstance — running out of money and possibly defaulting on some of its bills, further imperiling its credit rating and the world economy. President Obama says he is willing to compromise on many government spending issues, but not on whether the debt ceiling should be increased.
 
"While I will negotiate on many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they have already racked up through the laws that they've passed," he said. "Let me repeat, we can't not pay bills that we've already incurred. If Congress refuses to give the U.S. government the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic, far worse than the impact of a fiscal cliff."
 
A year and a half ago, congressional Republicans reluctantly agreed to the current debt cap, but only after forcing sharp government spending cuts that were set to take effect on New Year's Day. With the economic uncertainly in mid-2011, one financial services firm cut the U.S.'s long-held, top-ranked credit rating.
 
But instead of compromising in the last few days on what defense and domestic programs to trim, the White House and congressional Republicans postponed the spending curbs for two months. That will leave numerous decisions — such as how much to spend on popular Medicare health care and Social Security pension programs for older Americans — for about the same time as the debt ceiling dilemma.
 
As Congress approved higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, one lawmaker, Republican congressman David Dreier of California, said that containing the rising cost of providing the elder care benefits was essential to eventually cut the nation's debt.
 
"Entitlement reform is the only way that we are going to successfully get our arms around this massive ... 16-and-a-quarter-trillion-dollar national debt that is there," he said, referring to a financial problem that the president has frequently mentioned.
 
"I agree with Democrats and Republicans, the aging population and the rising cost of health care makes Medicare the biggest contributor to our deficit," said the president. "I believe we have got to find ways to reform that program without hurting seniors."
 
At the end of March, the White House and Congress also face one other financial issue — final budget decisions for the 12-month period that began last October. As last year's presidential and congressional elections loomed, the White House and Congress pushed off adoption of an annual plan and left spending at the same level as for the year that ended in September 2012.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid