News / USA

Obama Urges Compromise Over Dangerous Debt Limit Stalemate

President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 25, 2011, on the approaching debt limit deadline.
President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 25, 2011, on the approaching debt limit deadline.

President Barack Obama used a nationally televised address on Monday night to increase pressure on the U.S. Congress for a solution to the nation's debt limit and deficit crisis.  With an August 2 deadline looming to raise the government's borrowing limit, Mr. Obama urged Americans to pressure lawmakers for a compromise.

After several weeks of tense meetings at the White House and on Capitol Hill, walkouts by Republicans, and warnings by credit rating agencies, Mr. Obama used his speech delivered from the White House East Room to ratchet up the pressure.

Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reid proposed a $2.7 trillion spending cut plan, with no cuts to Social Security and Medicare programs, a debt ceiling increase through next year's presidential and congressional elections, with a bipartisan committee recommending further cuts.

House of Representatives Speaker, Republican John Boehner's two-stage plan envisions $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, an immediate $1 trillion debt limit increase and another possible increase next year tied to conditions.  Boehner's proposal would also create a bipartisan committee and have lawmakers vote on a constitutional amendment for balanced budgets.

President Obama said Boehner's plan is part of a "dangerous game" that would result in repeating the same debate six months from now.

"This is no way to run the greatest country on Earth.  It is a dangerous game that we have never played before and we can't afford to play it now, not when the jobs and livelihoods of so many families are at stake.  We can't allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington's political warfare.," he said.

Earlier, Senator Reid said Republicans appeared determined to embarrass the president and force a showdown over the debt limit issue.  He and fellow Democrat Charles Schumer said Boehner's hand was being forced by lawmakers closely linked to the conservative and libertarian Tea Party movement.

Senator Reid said "We should not let these extremists dictate the outcome of this debate or the direction of this country."

Schumer said "There are 100 people in the House who don't care if we default, any of them, who are extreme and ideological and who have not seen the House Republican leadership responsibly resist that."

In his own televised address after Mr. Obama's speech, Speaker Boehner said the president had engaged in a "massive spending binge" after which he requested a historic increase in the national debt.

"The sad truth is that the president wanted a blank check six months ago, and he wants a blank check today.  This is just not going to happen," he said.

Boehner says he expects the proposal he unveiled on Monday to pass in the House, and he predicted approval in the Democratic-controlled Senate, adding that if Mr. Obama signs it into law, the crisis atmosphere he accused the president of having created would disappear.

In his address, President Obama did not issue a specific threat to veto the Boehner plan.  He said he wants congressional leaders to come up with a fair compromise in the next few days that can pass the House and Senate, and that he can sign.  He said Americans are "fed up" with Washington, "where compromise is a dirty word."

"The American people may have voted for a divided government, but they did not vote for a dysfunctional  government" Obama said.  "So I am asking you all to make your voice heard.  If you want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, let your member of Congress know.  If you believe we can solve this problem through compromise, send that message."

While the president endorsed Senator Reid's proposal, he repeated that a long-term solution to the nation's fiscal woes needs to include savings in costly entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare to enable them to survive.

In the Senate, the Reid plan might be blocked by Republican procedural tactics, and it is unclear whether Speaker Boehner can get the votes to pass his plan, despite a strong Republican majority in the House.

Saying that default would be "a reckless and irresponsible outcome" to the debate, Mr. Obama said he is confident that compromise can be reached and that enough lawmakers from both major political parties will ultimately put politics aside.

U.S. and global markets around the world are waiting anxiously for the White House and Congress to come up with a solution to America's debt limit crisis.  Although financial markets have not suffered major losses, economists warn of serious repercussions from a rise in interest rates that would likely follow a U.S. default, with some saying there already has been significant damage to America's credit worthiness. 

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid