News / USA

Obama Debt Plan Faces Divided Congress

President Obama (file photo)
President Obama (file photo)

How to rein in America’s $14.7 trillion national debt remains as contentious as ever, one day after President Barack Obama called for raising taxes on wealthier Americans, ending tax breaks for corporations and trimming federal spending.  The president aims to slash federal budget deficits by $3 trillion during the next decade.  Mr. Obama’s debt blueprint is receiving mixed reviews on Capitol Hill.

It was a combative-sounding President Obama who argued that wealthy investors and favored corporate sectors need to pay more taxes, so the burden of fixing America’s fiscal woes does not fall on the middle class and the poor.

Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota dismissed the president’s call as political posturing ahead of next year’s general election. “The president has chosen election-year politics over what is good for the economy and good for jobs in this country," he said.

Other Republicans doubt Mr. Obama’s promised spending cuts will ever materialize.  The ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, Jeff Sessions, said the president’s claim of fiscal restraint is an illusion based on accounting tricks, such as counting decreased defense expenditures from ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as spending cuts.

“The White House asserts two dollars in cuts for every one dollar in tax hikes.  The true figure is nowhere close to that.  The president’s plan is comprised of tax hikes alone, in reality,” Sessions said.

White House officials dispute those accusations.  The president says his plan would force some of the deepest spending cuts in U.S. history.

Many Democratic lawmakers, including Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, welcomed the substance of Mr. Obama’s plan as well as his feisty tone in unveiling it.

“I think the president is leading an effort which is, frankly, overdue.  We cannot do serious deficit reduction without revenue being added.  The gaps between the wealthy and middle-income [citizens] have grown dramatically in this country,” Levin said.

In the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Majority Leader Eric Cantor criticized the Obama plan as class warfare - stoking disdain for the rich.  But according to Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York: “It is not class warfare to fight for the middle class.  It is not class warfare to say that we need funding for roads and bridges, for teachers, and that the wealthiest among us should pay their fair share to do it,” Schumer said.

The United States taxes investment income at a lower rate than most wages and salaries.  Republicans say to do otherwise would be to deny the private sector the capital needed to start new businesses, create jobs and foster economic expansion.  Democrats say the tax structure allows billionaire investors to pay a lower tax rate than the workers they employ.

President Obama’s deficit-cutting plan comes as a special bipartisan congressional committee works to craft a debt reduction plan that must be voted on by year’s end.  If the committee fails to act, automatic spending cuts would be triggered.  Those cuts would likely fall on social welfare programs championed by Democrats as well as national defense, which many Republicans are reluctant to trim.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
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.

All About America

AppleAndroid