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

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid