World News

Obama: Congress Must Act Quickly on Spending, Debt Issues

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.

Mr. 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."



Mr. 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 Speak 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 Mr. 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.

Mr. 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."



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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs