News / USA

    Intra-Partisan Divisions Snarl US Debt Negotiations

    President Barack Obama sits with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio (L), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as he met with Republican and Democratic leaders regarding the debt ceiling, at the White House in Washington, DC, July 14, 2011
    President Barack Obama sits with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio (L), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as he met with Republican and Democratic leaders regarding the debt ceiling, at the White House in Washington, DC, July 14, 2011
    Michael Bowman

    Amid the specter of a possible default on U.S. debt obligations - and dire warnings from economists, investors, and credit ratings agencies - Washington remains mired in a political standoff, blocking a deficit-reduction deal that would pave the way to raising the federal debt ceiling.

    Not only are talks between the White House and congressional leaders stymied, but discordant factions have emerged within the two main political parties, further complicating a debt agreement.

    As President Barack Obama prepared for another round of negotiations with top lawmakers, Press Secretary Jay Carney downplayed the likelihood of a sudden breakthrough that would avert a possible default on America’s $14.3-trillion national debt.

    “The president is ready to make that deal," said Carney. "And he is waiting for partners.”

    Republicans sound even more pessimistic. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continued to object to Democratic insistence that increased tax revenue be part of a budget deal.

    “Republicans will not be reduced to being the tax collectors for the Obama economy," said McConnell. "We will not be seduced into calling a bad deal a good deal. If he and the Democratic Senate would rather borrow and spend us into oblivion, they can certainly do that. But do not expect any more cover from Republicans. None.”

    McConnell has said that if no bipartisan agreement is forthcoming, Republicans should essentially wash their hands of the debt ceiling issue by granting the president the ability to raise the borrowing limit in installments, without Republican legislative consent. That would put the full burden of what is a politically-unpopular move on Democrats ahead of next year’s national elections.

    But Republican Party unity appears to have faltered. House Speaker John Boehner has said he aims for $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years, while his chief deputy, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, appears focused on a smaller deal consisting of budget cuts already agreed to in negotiations to date. The two men downplayed any disagreements at a news conference Thursday, with Boehner going so far as to embrace Cantor in front of cameras.

    Meanwhile, few Republicans are embracing the McConnell proposal, and many appear unwilling to allow the chance of a major budget deal to slip by. Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee is an ardent opponent of tax hikes. But Thursday, he criticized hardened partisan bargaining positions and seemed to yearn for compromise.

    “I am very disappointed, candidly, that both sides of the aisle only want it their way," said Corker. "I do not think this great country was created so that one side of the aisle got it exactly the way they wanted it.”

    Compromise is anathema to the virulently anti-tax Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, said holding a firm line against raising taxes is not a matter of ideological purity, but economic common sense.

    “Too often in politics, compromise leads to things that makes things worse, not better. And if you raise taxes in this economy, with 9 percent unemployment, you are going to make things worse.”

    Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers stress that any budget deal that relies on spending cuts alone will harm the middle class and the poor, while shielding the wealthy from sacrifice.

    Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois said, “We need to put everything - underline the world ‘everything’ - on the table: spending, entitlements, and revenue.”

    Friction also has emerged within the Democratic Party, with its most-progressive lawmakers objecting to Obama’s willingness to consider substantial changes to so-called entitlement programs that provide income and health care for retirees.

    Despite the cacophony of voices and demands, Carney said a deal is still possible before the August 2 deadline for increasing the debt ceiling.

    “That agreement is right here, within reach," said Carney. "It is on the table. Just have to reach for it and grasp it, and be willing to compromise to do it. And you know what? That requires thinking about the broad American public and not the narrow bands or the narrow constituencies within your own party.”

    The president has met with congressional leaders every day this week, and further meetings in coming days are anticipated.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora