News / USA

    Obama Signs Fiscal Cliff Deal

    VOA News
    U.S. President Barack Obama has signed a bill that raises taxes on wealthier Americans and preserves tax breaks for the middle class, while delaying billions of dollars in mandated spending cuts.

    The president signed the measure late Wednesday, a day after members of Congress passed the compromise legislation to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff."

    Obama said late Tuesday, after the bill cleared Congress, that it was "one step" in a broader effort to strengthen the American economy.

    What's Next After the Fiscal Cliff Deal

    • Late February: Extraordinary measures to extend the nation's borrowing limit will be exhausted.
    • March 1: Large automatic spending cuts, or sequestration, would take effect without congressional action.
    • March 27:  A temporary funding measure expires.  Government agencies will run out of money unless Congress adopts a new bill.
    "Today's agreement enshrines, I think, a principle into law that will remain in place as long as I am president: The deficit needs to be reduced in a way that's balanced.  Everyone pays their fair share.  Everyone does their part," he said. "That's how our economy works best.  That's how we grow."

    The International Monetary Fund says the plan did not go far enough to address the country's long-term economic problems, including its deficit and overall debt.

    In a statement Wednesday afternoon, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said more remains to be done to put U.S. public finances back on a sustainable path without harming what it said was the still fragile recovery.

    President Obama and congressional Republicans have sparred for more than a year over tax rates, the extent of government spending, chronic budget deficits and the country's mounting debt.  

    Congressional leaders described Tuesday's deal as imperfect, but in the best interest of the American people.

    Under the plan, taxes will increase for individuals making more than $400,000 a year and couples earning more than $450,000, the first U.S. income tax increase in 20 years. The package will also extend unemployment benefits for a year and boost taxes on large inheritances.

    The compromise delays mandated cuts to defense spending and domestic programs for two months, setting up a future battle between the parties. Analysts have said that without a compromise, the $500 billion in austerity measures could eventually plunge the U.S. economy into another recession.

    Even as U.S. leaders wrangled over the tax and spending issues, they soon face a decision on whether to increase the country's borrowing limit, which hit its current $16.4 trillion cap on Monday.  Officials say the country will be able to pay its bills for another two months, but by then will need to increase the debt ceiling, an action likely to spark another extended debate over Washington's spending priorities.

    President Obama said Tuesday he will not engage Congress in a debate about whether they should raise the debt ceiling to pay for the cost of the legislation they have already passed.

    "We can't not pay bills that we've already incurred," he said. "If Congress refuses to give the United States government the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic, far worse than the impact of the fiscal cliff."

    Obama said he hopes lawmakers can work to solve the budget issues with "less drama" and "less brinksmanship" after a deal that required days of intense deadline negotiations.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Yoichi from: Japan
    January 03, 2013 9:11 AM
    I hope the mess in the US will not affect other countries' economy.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora