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

Diplomats Work to Extend Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

US Secretary of State John Kerry, diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gathered in Paris Saturday to discuss crisis More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid