News / USA

Obama: Congress Must Face Deficit

Kent Klein

President Barack Obama will meet Sunday with top lawmakers, in hopes of making progress toward an agreement to prevent a government default.  Both the White House and top Republicans are playing down the prospects for a deal in Sunday’s talks.

The ongoing negotiations between the Obama administration and Republican leaders have two goals.  One is to reduce the government’s $14.3 trillion debt, which is the current legal borrowing limit.  The other is to raise that limit before August 2, when the U.S. could default on some of its loans, which would damage its credit rating.

President Obama met with top lawmakers from both parties on Thursday to discuss the problem.  He said the meeting was constructive, but that the parties were still far apart.  

The president scheduled another meeting for Sunday, and said Thursday that White House and congressional staffs would work through the weekend, to enable negotiators to make progress. “I will reconvene congressional leaders here on Sunday, with the expectation that at that point the parties will at least know where each other’s bottom lines are, and will, hopefully, be in a position to then start engaging in the hard bargaining that is necessary to get a deal done," he said.

Some lawmakers from both parties were expressing optimism on Thursday that a deal could be concluded soon.  But on Friday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney cautioned that an agreement should not be expected immediately. “I am not prepared to say that we will produce something Sunday.  I think I would not anticipate that, necessarily, in terms of the final product at all.  I would simply say that we do expect progress to be made, as it is being made in between these two meetings," he said.

The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, also warned Friday against expectations of a quick deal. "There is no agreement in private or in public.  And as the president said yesterday, we are "this far apart."  It is not like there is some imminent deal about to happen," he said.

Mr. Obama indicated early in the week that he believed conditions are right for a major deal to reduce the deficit.  Such an agreement could cut the deficit by as much as $4 trillion over at least ten years.

To do so, the president will need to overcome opposition from Republicans and some Democrats.

The White House said a big debt reduction plan could involve savings in social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  Many Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, reject any reduction in the benefits Americans receive from these programs.

Republicans, meanwhile, are strongly opposed to raising taxes or eliminating tax breaks that benefit wealthier Americans.

The number-two House Republican, Eric Cantor, said Friday he and Speaker Boehner will not allow taxes to be increased. "Now it just does not make sense for Americans to suffer under higher taxes in an economy like this.  And as the Speaker said, there is no way that the House of Representatives will support a tax increase," he said.

The president’s spokesman, Jay Carney, said no single plan will ultimately be approved.  The final deal will likely be a compromise including some of Mr. Obama’s proposals, those from Democrats and Republicans, and the findings of two bipartisan independent commissions.

Adding to the urgency of the talks was Friday’s report from the Labor Department, showing that the U.S. economy’s recovery from recession continues to slow.

The figures showed that only 18,000 jobs were created in June, and that the nation’s unemployment rate increased slightly, to 9.2 percent.

The president said Friday a deal on the debt would reassure U.S. and global financial markets, and would give American businesses confidence to resume hiring.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid