News / USA

Obama Expects Congress to Raise Debt Ceiling Before Deadline

President Barack Obama speaks during an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in the White House library in Washington, Oct. 4, 2013.
President Barack Obama speaks during an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in the White House library in Washington, Oct. 4, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama says he expects Congress to increase the country's borrowing limit before a mid-October deadline, ensuring that the United States does not default on its financial obligations.
 
With the U.S. government in the fifth day of a partial shutdown, it also faces running out of money to pay its bills on October 17, including interest on government bonds held by China, Japan and other overseas investors.
 
In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press released Saturday, Obama said he expects Congress will increase the country's $16.7 trillion debt ceiling so the United States can borrow more money.
 
"America has never not paid its bills, and I've said repeatedly that that's not something anybody should be threatening," he said. "The potential default of the United States, where we are essentially deadbeats, that's never happened."
 
Obama, a Democrat in his fifth year at the White House, is locked in a political stalemate with Republican opponents in Congress over government spending policies and implementation of his signature legislative achievement: wide-ranging health care changes that are now taking effect.

Willing to negotiate

The president said he is willing to negotiate changes to the health law and reduce spending, but not until Congress agrees to end the shutdown and raises the debt ceiling without conditions. Republicans opposed to the health care reforms are trying to end funding for or delay that program, which is commonly known in the U.S. as "Obamacare."
 
Opposition Republicans have insisted that they will only approve a spending bill to reopen the government if Obama and Democratic leaders agree to negotiations on the separate issue of the health care plan.
 
With Congress deadlocked, a lack of funds has halted or sharply curtailed a wide variety of government services.  All national parks, museums and the Library of Congress have been closed since Tuesday, and scientific research at the National Institutes of Health and the space agency, NASA, has been almost entirely suspended. These actions prompted government agencies to order about 800,000 federal workers on furlough status — sending them home without pay and barring them from remaining at their jobs, even voluntarily.

Military spending

U.S. military forces have not been directly affected by furloughs, although the Department of Defense sent home 400,000 civilian employees before recalling them to return to work next week. Some federal agencies and programs, such as the Voice of America, have been ordered to continue their work even with a portion of their workforce on furlough. Air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and many food inspectors also are still working.
 
Despite the focus on the funding shortage resulting from the stalemate in Congress, it now appears that all furloughed workers will eventually be paid for the time they spent at home, thanks to separate action making its way through Congress. Repaying hundreds of millions of dollars to employees whose wages were interrupted, however, is a much smaller issue than the dispute over the debt ceiling.
 
The U.S., with the world's biggest economy, has never defaulted — failed to pay its bills, in effect. Most analysts do not expect that will happen this time, either, but the uncertainty that currently prevails could cause substantial turmoil in world financial markets. A protracted congressional debate in 2011 over increasing the borrowing limit did not shut off government services, but it roiled international financial markets and noticeably slowed economic growth in the U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures during a news conference at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali island Oct. 5, 2013.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures during a news conference at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali island Oct. 5, 2013.
x
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures during a news conference at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali island Oct. 5, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures during a news conference at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali island Oct. 5, 2013.
Some fear that could occur again in the next two weeks. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday he does not think that will happen, but he warned that a "prolonged or repeated" political crisis in Washington could weaken the U.S. globally.
 
Speaking at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on the island of Bali in Indonesia, Kerry described the current government shutdown as "a momentary episode." The risk, he said, lies in how long the stalemate persists.
 
On Capitol Hill, Republicans who control the House of Representatives have offered to approve funding for individual agencies, but the U.S. Senate, controlled by Democrats, has insisted there must be overall funding legislation to reopen the entire government. The Republicans say they will not consider an overall budget unless that includes changes in the health care law, which was previously approved by both houses of Congress and ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden order lunch at Taylor Gourmet sandwich shop near the White House in Washington, Oct. 4, 2013.President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden order lunch at Taylor Gourmet sandwich shop near the White House in Washington, Oct. 4, 2013.
x
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden order lunch at Taylor Gourmet sandwich shop near the White House in Washington, Oct. 4, 2013.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden order lunch at Taylor Gourmet sandwich shop near the White House in Washington, Oct. 4, 2013.
Obama tried to highlight the impact on furloughed workers Friday by visiting a local sandwich shop that was offering discounts to out-of-work government employees. Before ordering lunch for himself and Vice President Joe Biden, Obama challenged House Speaker John Boehner to allow lawmakers to vote freely on a bill to reopen the government without conditions.

"This shutdown could be over today," he said. "We know there are the votes for it in the House of Representatives, and as I said [Thursday], if Speaker Boehner will simply allow that vote to take place, we can end this shutdown."
 
Democratic criticism has irked Boehner, who objected earlier Friday to a published report that framed the ongoing political struggle as a contest that one side or the other could win or lose.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, joined by members of the Republican Caucus, demands that the White House and congressional Democrats negotiate with congressional Republicans, Oct. 4, 2013.House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, joined by members of the Republican Caucus, demands that the White House and congressional Democrats negotiate with congressional Republicans, Oct. 4, 2013.
x
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, joined by members of the Republican Caucus, demands that the White House and congressional Democrats negotiate with congressional Republicans, Oct. 4, 2013.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, joined by members of the Republican Caucus, demands that the White House and congressional Democrats negotiate with congressional Republicans, Oct. 4, 2013.
"This isn't some damn game," Boehner said. "The American people don't want their government shut down, and neither do I. All we're asking for is to sit down and have a discussion and to bring fairness, reopen the government, and bring fairness to the American people under Obamacare."
 
Democrats in the House are considering using a parliamentary maneuver to try to force a vote on a funding bill to end the shutdown, but they can only succeed if some Republican representatives turn against their party leadership. Such a vote could not occur before October 14, three days before the U.S. must increase the borrowing limit.

Democrats in the House said they will use a parliamentary maneuver to try to force a vote on a funding bill to end the shutdown, but would need some Republican support to carry out the plan.  Such a vote could not occur before October 14, three days before the U.S. must increase the borrowing limit.

Compromise urged

Furloughed federal workers protest outside the U.S. Capitol to demand an end to the lockout of federal workers caused by the government shutdown October 4, 2013 in Washington, DC.Furloughed federal workers protest outside the U.S. Capitol to demand an end to the lockout of federal workers caused by the government shutdown October 4, 2013 in Washington, DC.
x
Furloughed federal workers protest outside the U.S. Capitol to demand an end to the lockout of federal workers caused by the government shutdown October 4, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Furloughed federal workers protest outside the U.S. Capitol to demand an end to the lockout of federal workers caused by the government shutdown October 4, 2013 in Washington, DC.
One analyst, University of Michigan business professor Erik Gordon, said he thinks both Obama and his Republican opponents will have to compromise on their policy goals if a default is to be avoided.
 
"I think at the last minute there will be some compromise, because neither side can afford to be seen by the public as being intransigent," he said. "So the Republicans will have to give up and say, 'Okay, we'll settle for fewer tax cuts than we asked for.' And the president is going to have to say, 'I'm going to make some bigger reductions [in spending] than I said I would make,' because neither side can afford to have the blame pinned on them. They will move together and learn to live with each other one more time."

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Mrs. Janett from: NJ
October 05, 2013 10:57 AM
Kerry is a warmonger and a member of BOHEMIAN GROVE!
     

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More