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.
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 1:51 AM
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

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid