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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid