News / USA

Obama Calls for Debt Ceiling Increase

President Barack Obama speaks about the debt limit in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Jan. 14, 2013.
President Barack Obama speaks about the debt limit in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Jan. 14, 2013.
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— In the final news conference of his first term, a week ahead of the formal inauguration of his second term in office, President Barack Obama underscored the dangers of another fight with Republicans in Congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling.  The president also spoke about gun violence.

In his 21st formal full-scale news conference, Obama underscored his refusal to negotiate with Congress over the debt ceiling.

The national debt stands at $16.4 trillion. Lawmakers must raise it, or risk another damaging downgrade of the U.S. credit rating as occurred in 2011.

Republicans say they will insist on spending cuts in exchange for debt ceiling vote.

Obama says he is willing to negotiate over deficit reductions, but that Congress is responsible for ensuring that the U.S. pays its bills. He warned Monday against another "self-inflicted wound" on the economy.

"What I will not do is to have that negotiation with a gun at the head of the American people [with Republicans saying], 'Unless we get our way, unless you gut Medicare or Medicaid or otherwise slash things that the American people don't believe should be slashed, that we're going to threaten to wreck entire economy,'" Obama said.

Saying America is "not a deadbeat nation," Obama said if Congress wants to turn authority over to him for debt-ceiling increases, he would happily accept it.

Obama and Congress are also likely to battle over more than $100 billion in mandatory government spending cuts, called a sequester, that will occur in March after an agreement reached in December expires.

Asked about the threat of a federal government shutdown over the debt ceiling, Obama said a shutdown would be "profoundly damaging" to the economy. Americans, he said, would blame all of Washington.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner, responded by saying Americans do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending.

Boehner said the Republican-controlled House would pass legislation to control spending, meet obligations and keep the government running and insist that Democrats do the same.

Watch a related report by VOA's Meredith Buel
Obama Reviews Proposals to Curb Gun Violencei
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January 15, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama is reviewing proposals to curb gun violence in the United States. The move comes a month after a shooting rampage in Newtown, Connecticut that killed 20 children and six school personnel. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports from Washington.

In a news conference dominated by domestic issues, the other major topic was gun violence in the wake of the massacre of 26 children and adults in a Connecticut school last month.

The National Rifle Association, the nation's largest pro-gun organization, is pushing members of Congress to reject any legislation to strengthen gun controls.

The NRA accuses the White House of attacking the Constitution’s Second Amendment "right to bear arms" protection for all. Obama rejected that, saying pro-gun groups are trying to fan fears that Americans who use guns properly will lose them.

"The issue here is not whether or not we believe in the Second Amendment, the issue is are there some sensible steps that we can take to make sure that somebody like the individual in Newtown [Connecticut] can't walk into a school and gun down a bunch of children in a shockingly rapid fashion, and surely we can do something about that," Obama said.

Obama was meeting Monday with Vice President Joe Biden to review the recommendations of a task force set up after the Connecticut shootings last month, and will speak about the findings later this week.

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by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
January 15, 2013 6:54 AM
Gun Control Defined:
The theory that people who are willing to ignore laws against rape, kidnapping, theft, and murder will obey a law that prohibits them from possessing a firearm.

Gun control is like trying to reduce drunk driving by making it tougher for sober people to own cars.


by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
January 15, 2013 6:51 AM
Senator Obama to then President Bush on the debt ceiling, 2006:
I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem. The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.


by: NVO from: USA
January 14, 2013 5:02 PM
The whole thing is a SHAM! And where are the Rothschilds and Rockefellers during all of this?? Where are they?? The house of Rothschild owns $Trillions. They only need to administer their wealth, to see that it is nicely placed, they do not need to work, at least not by what we understand as work. But who provides them and their like with such an enormous amount of money?

Who does this? You do it, nobody but you! That's right, it is your money, hard earned through care and sorrow, which is drawn as if magnetically into the coffers of these insatiable people. The whole financial collapse was PLANNED.


by: Phil
January 14, 2013 4:27 PM
The right to live in a safe, gun-free society. All the major developed countries make this one of citizens' most basic rights. Yet, the U.S. still can't figure it out.


by: jonathan loomis from: brockton
January 14, 2013 3:17 PM
if the debt cealing being raszed isent a blank check to this curent government i dount know what is just look at te spending that has happened since our lord and master took over and the best kind of gun controle is a well traned person haveing the abality to hit the target they shoot at

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