News / USA

Obama, Republicans Still Wrangling Over Debt Solution

US President Barack Obama (C) conducts a meeting with congressional leadership on deficit reduction in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, July 13, 2011
US President Barack Obama (C) conducts a meeting with congressional leadership on deficit reduction in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, July 13, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to enter into what he called "shared compromise " in an effort to solve the country's debt and deficit problems.

In his weekly address, Mr. Obama said he is willing to do whatever it takes to solve the problem, even if it is not politically popular.  But he also noted the wealthiest Americans must "pay their fair share."

Watch President Obama's weekly address:

A White House official said President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and other administration officials were discussing "various options" with congressional leaders from both parties.  However, no new talks were scheduled for Sunday.

With an August 2 deadline approaching to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling or allow the United States to default,  the two sides appear far from an agreement.

Mr. Obama said earlier he would consider cuts in popular entitlements including pensions, health care for the elderly, and aid to veterans.  In return, the president has called for higher taxes on wealthy Americans and large corporations.  Republicans rejected the move saying it would hurt the economic recovery.

In the weekly Republican address, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah blamed Democrats for the financial mess and said the president and his Democratic allies in Congress need to come up with a serious plan to control runaway spending.  Hatch said that cutting spending, limiting expenditures and requiring balanced budgets is the only long-term solution to the problem.

Watch the Republican weekly address:

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner, said Friday the House will vote next week on a $2.4 trillion measure to raise the debt ceiling through 2012 if Congress passes a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.   

President Obama said getting such major cuts without increasing revenue would cause unacceptably deep cuts in programs that are vital to many Americans. He also said elected officials do not need a constitutional amendment to make the tough spending decisions that are a key part of their jobs.

Meanwhile, credit rating agencies have warned that the U.S. government's credit rating would be downgraded if an agreement is not reached soon.

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