News / USA

Obama, Geithner Optimistic About Deficit Cuts

President Barack Obama rolls up his sleeves during a town hall meeting to discuss reducing the national debt at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., April 19, 2011
President Barack Obama rolls up his sleeves during a town hall meeting to discuss reducing the national debt at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., April 19, 2011

Multimedia

Kent Klein

President Barack Obama and his treasury secretary are trying to reassure global markets that Democrats and Republicans can agree on a way to cut the long-term U.S. budget deficit. Their ability to do so could affect the government’s credit rating.

President Obama says worries that bickering between Democrats and Republicans will prevent an agreement on a deficit reduction plan are exaggerated.

"Our conflicts and our disagreements tend to get more attention than our agreements," said the president. "The easiest way to be on TV is to call somebody a name. If you say something mean about somebody, that will get you on TV.  If you say something nice about somebody, you figure, ‘Well, that is boring, I am not interested.’"


The president spoke Tuesday at a community college near Washington.  

One day earlier, the Standard and Poor’s credit rating agency warned that the U.S. government could lose its top credit rating during the next two years if progress is not made on slashing the federal budget deficit.

S&P officials are concerned that a continued refusal by both parties to compromise could lead to failure to reduce the U.S. deficit, which is projected at $1.5 trillion this year.

Mr. Obama and Congressional Republicans agree that about $4 trillion must be cut from the deficit during the next 10 to 12 years. But the president says both sides need to give ground on where to cut.

"It is pretty rare when Washington says, ‘This is a problem, everybody agrees on that, and everybody agrees on about how much we need to do to solve the problem.' The big question that is going to have to be resolved is, ‘How do we do it?’" Obama asked.

One reason for optimism, Mr. Obama says, is the work of the so-called "Gang of Six" - a bipartisan group of senators working for a budget compromise.  

The president says their efforts led to the recent budget agreement for the remainder of this fiscal year.

"We had a good start a few weeks ago, when both parties came together around a compromise that cut spending, but also kept the government open and kept vital investments in things that we care about," the president added.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has also been giving interviews in hopes of calming fears about a budget deadlock. He told Bloomberg News that the eventual agreement will send a positive message to world markets.

"I would be reasonably confident now that we have a chance to lock in what we agree on," Geithner said. "And what we agree on is the importance of putting in place strong targets for savings, for deficit reduction, over a specific time frame with enforceable limits. Because what you want people around the world to know is that Washington is going to back to living within its means."

Vice President Joe Biden will host a meeting with bipartisan congressional leaders on May 5, to start work on a long-term deficit reduction plan.

Economic concerns have pushed down President Obama’s approval ratings. The latest public opinion poll, conducted by ABC News and The Washington Post newspaper, shows that 47 percent of Americans surveyed think the president is doing a good job, while 50 percent say he is not.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs