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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora