News / USA

    Obama: Renewed Sense of Urgency for Debt, Deficit Reduction Amid Market Turmoil

    President Barack Obama speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House,  Aug. 8, 2011
    President Barack Obama speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House, Aug. 8, 2011

    U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday that the recent downgrade of America's credit rating by a key rating agency, and the impact that has had on global financial markets, underscores the importance of further steps to deal with the nation's debt and deficit problems.  

    The president delivered his statement as U.S. markets were suffering sharp losses on top of last Friday's 500 point drop, and following declines on Monday in major stock indexes in Europe and Asia.

    Speaking as the Dow Jones Industrial Average passed the 450 point loss mark, President Obama referred to Friday's downgrade of the nation's credit worthiness from AAA to AA by the Standard & Poor's rating agency.  He said it was due more to doubts about the ability of the U.S. political system to act after weeks of political wrangling, rather than the ability of the United States to pay its debts.

    Saying markets and global investors continue to believe that America's credit rating is AAA,  Obama said the downgrade underscores the need to continue getting the nation's fiscal house in order.

    "The fact is we didn't need a rating agency to tell us that we need a balanced, long term approach to deficit reduction," said President Obama. "That was true last week; that was true last year; that was true the day I took office."

    Obama said it was clear that a prolonged debate over raising the U.S. government's borrowing limit, in which the threat of default was used as a "bargaining chip" could damage the U.S. and global economies.

    This, he said, along with a string of economic disruptions in Europe, Japan and the Middle East, has roiled markets, dampened consumer confidence and slowed economic recovery.   

    President Obama said defense and domestic spending cuts in the recent debt ceiling compromise must be followed by further tax reforms and "modest adjustments" to programs such as Medicare, which, he said, are achievable without radical steps.

    Americans are worried about the future,  Obama said, but the real test is how the U.S. responds to economic challenges.

    "How we respond to those tests - that is entirely up to us," said Obama. "Markets will rise and fall, but this is the United States of America.  No matter what some agency may say, we have always been and always will be a AAA country."

    Standard & Poor's defends the U.S. rating downgrade, saying it in line with increasing U.S. debt levels and the inability of Congress and the president to achieve political consensus.

    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said S&P used "terrible judgment," and that U.S. treasury securities continue to be an absolutely safe investment.   

    President Obama said Monday he hopes that the Standard & Poor's downgrade will inject a renewed sense of urgency for a yet-to-be-formed bipartisan congressional committee to reach a compromise.  The so-called super committee is supposed to provide its recommendations by November for another $1.5 trillion in spending reductions beyond the approximate $900 billion in initial cuts.  If no agreement is reached, automatic cuts would occur.

    Mr. Obama said he soon will be outlining proposals for the congressional committee to consider in the next stage of the debt and deficit-cutting deal.

    White House spokesman Jay Carney:

    "He will be contributing to that process, not driving it or directing it," he said.

    In his remarks, President Obama referred again to what he called a lack of political will in Washington and an "insistence on drawing lines in the sand" that he said needs to be changed as the deficit and debt debate moves forward.  



    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.