News / USA

Congress Faces Scramble to Raise Debt Ceiling

Congress Switches Focus to Debt Limiti
X
February 09, 2014 9:04 PM
The coming week will see a return to fiscal drama in the U.S. Capitol, with lawmakers scrambling to raise the federal borrowing limit before they adjourn for a week-long recess. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Democrats and Republicans have yet to agree on a formula to boost the debt ceiling, and failure to act would leave the U.S. government unable to pay all its bills by the end of the month.
Michael Bowman
The coming week will see a return to fiscal drama in the U.S. Capitol with lawmakers scrambling to raise the federal borrowing limit before they adjourn for a week-long recess.

Democrats and Republicans have yet to agree on a formula to boost the debt ceiling, and failure to act would leave the U.S. government unable to pay all its bills by the end of the month.

President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress are demanding a conditions-free increase in the government's debt ceiling.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says prompt action is needed to keep the U.S. solvent.

“This is not a matter of negotiation," Pelosi said. "This is the full faith and credit of the United States of America.”

Republicans control the House of Representatives and are debating whether to attach items to a debt ceiling bill.

“We are still looking for the pieces to this puzzle," said House Speaker John Boehner. "But listen, we do not want to default on our debt, and we are not going to default on our debt.”

Republicans are endangering America’s fragile economic recovery, says Democratic Senator Patty Murray.

“They are once again putting our credit rating at risk. It is time for House Republicans to find their way out of this mess," she said.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says time is of the essence.

“The longer we wait, the greater the risks become," he said. "Whether it is the economic recovery, the financial markets, or the dependability of Social Security payments and military salaries, these are not things to put at risk.”

China and other creditor nations hold substantial amounts of U.S. debt. And the global financial community is taking note of the looming deadline.

“The U.S. economy has a lot of things going in its favor right now," said International Monetary Fund spokesman Gerry Rice. "Growth is strengthening, job creation has been relatively strong, and there is a new budget agreement. The last thing the U.S. economy needs is another confidence shock, such as a debate about whether the U.S. will honor its debt obligations.”

The U.S. national debt exceeds $17 trillion. The pace of debt accumulation has slowed over the last two years. But as long as debt continues to rise, Congress will periodically have to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, as it has done dozens of times in recent decades.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

Border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared their stories More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs