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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
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.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
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 US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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