News / USA

Obama Announces US Debt, Deficit Deal

President Barack Obama and U.S. congressional leaders announced late Sunday an agreement to cut an initial $1 trillion from federal government deficit spending and more than $2 trillion over 10 years, while allowing the U.S. debt ceiling to be raised before a Tuesday deadline.

In a late night appearance in the White House briefing room, President Obama presented a broad outline of the agreement that he noted was still subject to crucial votes in the Senate and House of Representatives.

The first stage of the plan would cut about $1 trillion over 10 years, while preserving what the president called job-creating investments in education and research.  The amount of spending cut over a decade would exceed $2 trillion.

Saying the process of reaching the agreement had been difficult and that it is not the one he would have preferred, Obama turned to a major aspect of the deal - creation of a bipartisan committee that would make recommendations on substantial additional cuts that Congress would then vote on.

"In this stage, everything will be on the table," he said. "To hold us all accountable for making these reforms, tough cuts that both parties would find objectionable would automatically go into effect, if we don't act."

Recommendations of the committee would be made by November, and the proposals would be put to the U.S. Congress for an up or down vote.

The "ultimate solution" to the deficit problem, Obama said, must be balanced, adding that the wealthiest Americans should have to give up tax breaks and deductions.  He said "modest adjustments" will be needed in government entitlement programs such as Medicare to ensure their stability - a position he has maintained throughout the debt and deficit negotiations.

Obama said the deal at hand allows the country to avoid default and clears the way for a "balanced plan" before the end of the year.

"Most importantly, it will allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America," he said. "It ensures also that we will not face the same kind of crisis in 6 months or 8 months or 12 months.  And it will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud uncertainty that hangs over our economy."

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell spoke on Capitol Hill, acknowledging that the deal was a difficult compromise for their members, but one that would avert default.

"I know this agreement won't make every Republican happy.  It certainly won't make every Democrat happy either," said Reid. "Both parties gave more ground than they wanted to and neither side got as much as they hoped.  But that is the essence of compromise."


"We can assure the American people tonight that the United States of America will not, for the first time in our history, default on its obligations," said McConnell.

The House of Representatives and the Senate will need to vote on the legislation to get the agreement, in the form of a bill, to the president's desk for signature.  Mr. Obama urged all lawmakers to vote for it.

The proposal still faces obstacles among Republicans and Democrats.  House Speaker John Boehner briefed members of his Republican caucus late Sunday.  House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is expected to do the same Monday.

On Sunday, lawmakers representing the liberal progressive faction of President Obama's Democratic Party expressed concern that the deal includes too many concessions to Republicans.

The head of a group of 74 liberal Democrats, Representative Raul Grijalva, said the agreement fails to "strike a balance" between more cuts for working Americans and "a fairer contribution from millionaires and corporations."

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus also are criticizing the deal, and plan to hold a news conference on Monday morning to spell out their disagreements with it.

Among Republicans, there were concerns about proposed additional cuts to defense spending.  Members of the conservative and libertarian Tea Party movement questioned details of the agreement.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid