News / USA

    Obama Unveils Deficit-Fighting Plan

    President Barack Obama outlines his plan for cutting federal spending during an address at George Washington University in Washington, April 13, 2011
    President Barack Obama outlines his plan for cutting federal spending during an address at George Washington University in Washington, April 13, 2011

    In a major speech on fiscal policy in Washington, President Barack Obama has set goals of reducing deficits, and the more than $14 trillion national debt, over the next dozen years. Mr. Obama says getting the nation's fiscal house in order will require shared sacrifice.   

    The speech came at a pivotal moment, with the country's debt and deficit spending at historic levels, and opposition Republicans challenging Mr. Obama to sharply reduce spending while not raising taxes.

    Key points in the president's plan include a phased reduction of future deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years or less, and putting the national debt on a declining path as a share of the economy by the second half of this decade.

    The plan envisions that Bush-era tax cuts for wealthy Americans would not be extended.  That keeps the president in conflict with Republicans, who have already labeled any steps resulting in higher taxes as a "non-starter."

    Related video report by Kent Klein
    :

    Laying out what he described as a path to shared prosperity, Mr. Obama said his strategy would protect the most vulnerable in society while preserving investments needed for job creation and continuing economic recovery.

    He warned of the consequences if no action is taken to address mounting debt. "By 2025, the amount of taxes we currently pay will only be enough to finance our health care programs - Medicare and Medicaid - Social Security, and the interest we owe on our debt.  That’s it.   Every other national priority : education, transportation, even national security, will have to be paid for with borrowed money," he said.

    Even after the U.S. economy recovers, the president said it will remain on track to be spending more money than it takes in through this decade and beyond, requiring continuing borrowing from countries like China.

    Mr. Obama's  proposals include a provision requiring mandatory across-the-board spending cuts if enough progress is not being made to stabilize and reduce the national debt by 2014.

    The plan envisions hundreds of billions of dollars in savings from reforms in the government Medicare and Medicaid programs, reforms of the tax code, and defense spending.

    A significant portion of the address was devoted to attacking the Republican budget plan for 2012, which proposes about $1 trillion more in deficit reductions over 10 years, with continuing tax breaks for the wealthy.

    Mr. Obama called the Republican plan "deeply pessimistic" saying it would result in a fundamentally different America. "There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  And I don't think there is anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.  That is not a vision of the America I know," he said.

    Republicans say their budget, which proposes major changes to Medicare and Medicaid, will do more to attack fiscal problems without penalizing what they call  "the main creators of jobs."  

    In a written statement, Republican House Speaker John Boehner said the president failed to deliver a plan.

    Republican budget chairman Representative Paul Ryan said, "What we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to addressing our country's pressing fiscal challenges."

    President Obama said he asked Republican and Democratic leaders to designate teams for negotiations to begin in May, to achieve deficit reduction legislation by the end of June.  Vice President Joe Biden will oversee that process.

    The president said he does not expect any final agreement to look exactly like the plan he presented on Wednesday, but believes Americans expect leaders in Washington to compromise. "Though I’m sure the criticism of what I have said here today will be fierce in some quarters, and my critique of the House Republican approach has been strong, Americans deserve and will demand that we all bridge our differences, and find common ground," he said.

    President Obama said that in the past presidents and both major parties in Congress had succeeded in reaching agreements on difficult issues, adding that he knows there are Republicans and Democrats who want to see what he called a "balanced approach" to deficit reduction.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora