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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid