News / USA

Obama Signs Compromise Debt Ceiling Bill

President Barack Obama, Aug 2, 2011
President Barack Obama, Aug 2, 2011

Multimedia

Kent Klein

President Barack Obama has signed legislation Tuesday to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, averting a potential government default only hours before the deadline.  The president called the bill an important first step toward fiscal responsibility.

The president's signature on the legislation defuses what might have been a far-reaching crisis for the U.S. economy.

Minutes after the Senate passed the bill by a of vote of 74 to 26, Obama told reporters at the White House that the process of reducing the government's deficit has begun.  

"This compromise guarantees more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction," said Obama.  "It is an important first step to insuring that, as a nation, we live within our means."

Watch a related report by Laurel Bowman:

The new law immediately allowed the Treasury to borrow an additional $400 billion, with more borrowing allowed later.  It is also intended to reduce the nation's $14.3 trillion deficit by at least $2.1 trillion over 10 years.  The House of Representatives passed the bill on Monday by a vote of 269 to 161, after weeks of intense debate.

Under the bill, a bipartisan committee in Congress will work to find further savings in federal budgets.

The president said the agreement requires that both major political parties work together on a larger plan to cut the federal budget deficit, which he said is important for the long-term health of the U.S. economy.

Obama said that plan would need to include cuts to social programs, a move that many Democrats oppose, and higher taxes, which many Republicans reject.  Neither option was included in the compromise legislation.

"Yes, that means making some adjustments to protect health care programs like Medicare, so they are there for future generations," Obama added.  "It also means reforming our tax code, so that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations pay their fair share."

In addition, lawmakers will also consider a constitutional amendment requiring the government to balance its budget.

Republican Senator John Barrasso said such an amendment would prevent another debt crisis.

"The question is, 'Are we going to be living by the same rules that apply to every family, every small business and 49 states, which is, that they cannot spend more money than they have?'" asked Barrasso.

Obama angrily denounced lawmakers for allowing the debt debate to linger until hours before the default deadline.  He said a "manufactured crisis" in Washington has hurt the struggling U.S. economy.

"That was in our hands," Obama said.  "It is pretty likely that the uncertainty surrounding the raising of the debt ceiling, for both businesses and consumers, has been unsettling and just one more impediment to the full recovery that we need.  And it was something that we could have avoided entirely."

The president said it should not take the risk of "economic catastrophe" to force lawmakers to work together and do their jobs.  He said the priority now is for Democrats and Republicans to focus on creating jobs and reviving the U.S. economy.

The top House Democrat, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, agreed that lawmakers must immediately turn their attention to economic recovery.

"Yesterday we crossed a bridge," said Pelosi.  "Enough talk about the debt.  We have to talk about jobs."

Obama called on Congress to pass numerous bills that he said would strengthen the economy, including approving free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid