News / USA

Obama, Lawmakers Hold Round Four of Debt Talks

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. looks on at right, as President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leaders regarding the debt ceiling, Wednesday, July 13, 2011, in the White House in Washington.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. looks on at right, as President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leaders regarding the debt ceiling, Wednesday, July 13, 2011, in the White House in Washington.

President Barack Obama along with several Republican and Democratic congressional leaders held a fourth round of negotiations in as many days Wednesday at the White House aimed at achieving a deficit reduction and debt compromise.  

With media reports filled with various versions of what has been said behind closed doors, based on anonymous White House and congressional sources, reporters pressed White House briefing spokesman Jay Carney for specifics.

They got none, but Carney did address a proposal by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for a procedurally-complex legislative tactic that would have essentially transferred authority, and political responsibility, for raising the debt ceiling from Congress to the president.

McConnell proposed passing legislation to allow Mr. Obama to raise the debt limit in three stages by $2.5 trillion, through the 2012 presidential election year, but requiring the president to list spending cuts at least as high as increases in the debt ceiling.

The senator described this as a way for Republicans to avoid being politically damaged by a worsening economy, because under the plan lawmakers could avoid voting against a debt ceiling increase.

Carney called the proposal an acknowledgment by Republicans that there is no alternative to raising the debt limit.  He did not reject it outright but said Mr. Obama remains focused on achieving the largest possible deficit reduction deal. "The linkage that was created that tied significant deficit reduction to this deadline, was so that we could work together, roll up our sleeves and do this.  Well the president is ready and willing to do that, he is willing to make compromises, he is willing to go big here," he said.

McConnell spoke on the Senate floor before he and other lawmakers went to the White House for their fourth round of talks with Mr. Obama. "Americans don't want tax hikes, they don't want phony spending cuts, they don't want a debt disapproval plan, and they don't want us to default on our debts.  They want real cuts, and real reform, now," he said.

In a CBS News television interview on Tuesday,  President Obama had this response to McConnell's statement the day before that a solution to the nation's fiscal mess was unobtainable with Mr. Obama in the White House. "You know, Mr. McConnell said, I think the day I was elected, that his job was to try to see me beat.  I think what the American people are looking for is not that kind of partisan politics," he said.

In addition to the president, his advisers, and lawmakers the White House negotiations have included Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who warned of the dire consequences of a debt default on August 2.

In testimony to a congressional committee on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said a default would have wide-ranging impacts. "Clearly if we went so far as to default on the debt it would be a major crisis," he said.

White House spokesman Carney said Wednesday's talks would look at areas where there is agreement, or where agreement is near, as well as issues on which significant negotiations remain.

Asked if Mr. Obama would rule out a very short stop gap measure, if negotiators were on the edge of a larger compromise, Carney said "there is enough time to get this done" adding the president believes there is momentum toward achieving a significant balanced deficit reduction package.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs