News / USA

Obama Meets Republican Leaders, Democrats on Debt Crisis

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

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders continue discussions on Thursday aimed at averting a U.S. government debt default on August 2. Lawmakers returned to the White House on Wednesday to examine options for a deficit reduction and debt package.

Avoiding a potentially calamitous default on the government's $14.3 trillion debt, with its domestic and global financial implications, becomes more urgent as the August 2 deadline nears.

Mr. Obama had two meetings on Wednesday.  One for just under an hour was with his fellow Democrats who have strongly opposed any major changes to government programs such as Social Security and Medicare as part of any deficit and debt compromise.

The other, lasting significantly longer, was with House of Representatives Speaker Republican John Boehner, and the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor who have resisted using tax increases to pay for deficit reduction.

None of the lawmakers spoke to news media at the White House after the talks.  Boehner had this to say in remarks to reporters on Capitol Hill the previous day.

"He talks about getting serious about cutting spending [but] we still have not seen the president's plan.  It is time for the president to get serious about working with Congress to solve this impending crisis," Boehner said.

Wednesday's talks focused in part on a complex plan by the so-called "Gang of Six" Republican and Democratic senators.  It proposes $3.7 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years, with $500 billion in immediate spending cuts, as well as reforms to costly entitlement programs and an overhaul of the tax system.

Representative Cantor had some initial positive reaction, saying the plan seemed to include some constructive ideas.  But it has also been criticized by some key Republicans on Capitol Hill, and would require significant time to get through both chambers of Congress.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Wednesday that Mr. Obama remained hopeful that a larger package of spending cuts with ways to achieve more revenue can be achieved.

Carney said all agree a debt default must be avoided, adding that Mr. Obama would consider a very short term agreement to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, but only if leaders had already struck a bargain for a broader package.

"Even as we pursue the bigger prize we are working with Congress to ensure that there is a mechanism by which we simply raise the debt ceiling, or raise the debt ceiling and do something much smaller than the grand bargain," Carney said.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats assailed a measure called "Cut, Cap, and Balance" approved by the Republican-controlled House, calling it a threat to middle class Americans and the elderly.

Senate Democratic leaders pronounced the legislation "dead on arrival" in that chamber. Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from the western state of Washington, called the House bill a "colossal waste of time."

"It is truly unbelievable that they are playing these games with the clock ticking to a financial crisis," Murray said.

In his last remarks to reporters, President Obama said he would urge Republicans and Democrats to start crafting a plan that can move forward in time to avert a government default on August 2.

"My hope is that we can start gathering everybody, over the next couple of days, to choose a clear direction and to get this issue resolved," Mr. Obama said.

The White House clarified late Wednesday that any short term debt ceiling compromise would be of only a few days duration, and would have to be linked to a larger deficit reduction deal.

White House spokesman Carney likened the challenge facing Mr. Obama and congressional leaders to choosing which train to ride of several that have left the station, adding that the choice must at minimum ensure that the debt ceiling can be raised.

You May Like

Photogallery Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


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