News / USA

Obama, Republicans Lay Out Positions for Fiscal Negotiations

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the U.S. "Fiscal Cliff" in the East Room of the White House, November 9, 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the U.S. "Fiscal Cliff" in the East Room of the White House, November 9, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
— U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans have set out initial positions ahead of difficult negotiations on deficit and debt reduction and taxes. As Mr. Obama has invited congressional leaders from both major political parties to the White House for talks next week to forge consensus.

After Obama's election victory, both sides are talking about common ground, although actually finding it and seizing opportunities for bipartisan compromise will be hard.


What is the U.S. Fiscal Cliff?

  • An agreement intended to force politicians to compromise and make deals.
  • Without a deal by January 1, 2013, sharp spending cuts would hit military and social programs.
  • Tax hikes also would go into effect.
  • The combination would reduce economic activity, and could boost unemployment and push the nation back into recession.
A combination of expiring tax cuts and the first phase of billions of dollars in mandatory spending reductions is fast approaching at the end of the year. Americans at all income levels face a tax increase without an agreement.  

Obama said he has invited congressional leaders to the White House this coming week to start building consensus over how to avert that so-called fiscal cliff.

The president said he was encouraged by remarks by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner, about the need to find new revenue.

Obama supports reforms to strengthen entitlement programs such as Medicare, but he reiterated his insistence on raising taxes for wealthier Americans and not making the middle class shoulder the burden of paying down the deficit.

"I want to be clear. I am not wedded to every detail of my plan. I am open to compromise. I am open to new ideas. I am committed to solving our fiscal challenges, but I refuse to accept any approach that isn't balanced," he said.

"I am not going to ask students and seniors and middle class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me making over $250,000 aren't asked to pay a dime more in taxes. I'm not going to do that," the president added.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 9, 2012.Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 9, 2012.
x
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 9, 2012.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 9, 2012.
Earlier, Speaker Boehner said the fiscal cliff needs to be averted and outlined what he called a "responsible path forward" without raising tax rates.

He challenged the president to respond in a spirit of finding common ground. "Earlier this week, the president and I had a short conversation. It was cordial," he said.

"I think we both understand that trying to find a way to avert the fiscal cliff is important for our country. And I’m hopeful that productive conversations can begin soon so that we can forge an agreement that can pass the Congress,” Boehner added.

Watch related video by Mil Arcega
Obama, House Speaker Take Positions on Budget Before Negotiationsi
|| 0:00:00
X
Mil Arcega
November 10, 2012
After a contentious election, another political battle is brewing in Washington, this one with potentially serious consequences for the U.S. economy. Both sides staked out their positions Friday on what to do about the so-called 'fiscal cliff' - a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts that would automatically take place at the end of the year. Mil Arcega reports that economists warn failure by U.S. lawmakers could send the economy into another tailspin.

Boehner said raising taxes on higher income earners will slow down job creation.  He said the contentious issue of raising the U.S. debt limit, which caused the U.S. government's credit rating to be downgraded in 2011, will have to be addressed.

President Obama suggested that to provide more certainty in the economy, the question of extending tax cuts for the middle class could be separated from doing so for wealthier Americans, as negotiations continue on a broader deficit reduction package.

In the U.S. election, he said, Americans voted for an end to dysfunction in Washington.
"What the American people are looking for is cooperation. They are looking for consensus," he said. "They are looking for common sense. Most of all, they want action.  I intend to deliver for them in my second term, and I expect to find willing partners in both parties to make that happen."

A Congressional Budget Office report this week warned that the U.S. economy could fall back into recession, and the jobless rate could rise above 9 percent, if no deal is struck on averting the fiscal cliff.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ArcaneDave from: Minneapolis, MN
November 13, 2012 2:01 PM
"He said the contentious issue of raising the U.S. debt limit, which caused the U.S. government's credit rating to be downgraded in 2011, will have to be addressed." Excuse me? Raising the debt limit isn't what caused the rating downgrade, Boehner's willingness to play 'chicken' with the debt ceiling is what caused the downgrade. Leave reality editing to Fox News please.


by: Tom Richards MAmoderate from: Norh Attleboo, MA
November 13, 2012 1:53 PM
Mr. President, Your to-do list:
1. Let the Bush tax cuts expire! Only plutocrats fear the "fiscal cliff".
2. Then submit a bill to extend the tax cuts for those earning under $250K. The House will have to accept it.
3. Submit a bill to raise the top marginal rate to 70% or more. Eisenhower took it up to 91% and the country flourished! It would curb the rip-off lust.
4. Direct your Treasury Secretary to pay a pittance on debts, to balance the budget.
5. Borrow not, except for needed infrastructure. Invest in our infrastructue, to provide jobs for returning vets and others.
6. Ask Speaker Boehner for a list of spending cuts and publicly decide stating why.
7. Direct your Secretary of State to cut foreign aid, except for food that actually reaches the hungry. Encourage plentry of talk and pick up the tab for lunch.
8. The wars are won and over. So, bring the troops home now, except from bases retained for monitoring and launching reprisals.
9. Submit a simple bill to replace Obamacare with a single-payer option for all citizens under Medicare.
10. Submit a simple bill ending medical insurance and life pensions for elected federal officials (Congress) and replace it with 401K plans.
11. Ask the neoGOP House (Boehner) for a list of their tax code fixes and push for those acceptable to you, submitting bills one by one.
12. Refer to Article. 1, Section. 8. of our Constitution. Appoint a commission headed by Ron Paul to study ending the Federal Reserve.


by: Bearman from: Arizona
November 09, 2012 6:44 AM
Wouldn't he first to know something about economics? So far he has helped the economy in the same shameful way that Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd helped Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac.

In Response

by: Anonymous
November 13, 2012 1:32 PM
get rid of Speaker Boehner and you might accomplish something!

In Response

by: Anonymous
November 12, 2012 8:59 PM
You mean under orders of the Pres. GW Bush White House?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid