News / Economy

Obama: Congress Must Act Quickly on Spending, Debt Issues

President Barack Obama speaks in the South Court Auditorium at the White House complex, Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington.
President Barack Obama speaks in the South Court Auditorium at the White House complex, Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama is urging Congress to quickly pass a new spending plan and increase the country's borrowing limit, so that the country does not default on its debt.

Obama said Monday it would be the "height of irresponsibility" for Congress not to approve an annual budget for the year that starts October 1, or to fail to increase the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling the country expects to reach a couple of weeks later.

"Congress needs to get it done without triggering another crisis, without shutting down our government, or worse, threatening not to pay this country's bills," he said.

Obama, a Democrat in the fifth year of his presidency, often has sparred with Republican opponents in Congress over government spending, tax rates and the country's long-term debt. If the White House and Congress do not agree on a 2014 spending plan, a partial government shutdown could occur October 1.  If the borrowing limit is not increased, the government would be unable to pay all its bills.

House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, says the president should work in a bipartisan way to address the country's spending problems. He said Monday "It's a shame that the president could not manage to rise above partisanship today."

Conservative Republicans are waging a continuing battle against Obama's signature legislative accomplishment, reforms that soon will make health insurance available to most of the 30 million people in the country who do not have it. Some of the lawmakers, supporters of the Tea Party, have threatened to vote against any budget that includes funding for the 2010 health care law, popularly known in the U.S. as "Obamacare."

Obama and his Democratic colleagues in Congress have rejected any attempt to block the law, and the country's Supreme Court has ruled that the measure meets constitutional standards.

The president, speaking on the fifth anniversary of the start of the steep U.S. recession, said congressional budget debates are "as old as the republic." But he sharply criticized the conservative lawmakers for their unwillingness to compromise on a spending plan to boost the U.S. economy.

"I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can't get 100 percent of what it wants," he said.

As the budget and debt ceiling deadlines approach, White House aides and congressional leaders are expected to engage in lengthy negotiations. In the past, the two sides have talked right up to deadlines before reaching agreements.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9118
JPY
USD
124.31
GBP
USD
0.6420
CAD
USD
1.3048
INR
USD
64.136

Rates may not be current.