News / USA

Obama Directs Lawmakers to Work Out Stopgap Fiscal Deal

President Barack Obama speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, December 21, 2012.
President Barack Obama speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, December 21, 2012.
President Barack Obama has told U.S. congressional leaders to work out a stopgap deal that would prevent the U.S. economy from falling off the fiscal cliff of expiring tax cuts and mandatory government spending cuts. 

Obama's appearance before reporters late Friday came amid sharply increased pessimism that a deal can be achieved, and after most members of Congress had left town for their Christmas break.

On Thursday, The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, decided to bring an alternative tax plan to a vote in the House.

Watch related Mi Arcega video report
Boehner's Plan B Backfires, Fiscal Cliff Threat Loomsi
|| 0:00:00
X
Mil Arcega
December 22, 2012 1:23 AM
With the clock ticking towards a year-end deadline, the United States veered closer to stepping off the so-called "fiscal cliff" after Republicans postponed a House vote on an alternate plan to prevent taxes from rising for most Americans. Democrats say President Barack Obama would have vetoed the plan. But with Congressional leaders on holiday recess, the political stalemate is making people nervous. Mil Arcega has more for VOA.

But he failed to gain enough Republican support for his proposal to raise tax rates on annual incomes above $1 million and was forced to withdraw the bill, a humiliating defeat.

The president said he had just spoken with Boehner by telephone, and also met with Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid. The president urged them to come up with an interim solution before the year ends.

"In the next few days, I have asked leaders of Congress to work toward a package that prevents a tax hike on middle class Americans, protects unemployment insurance for two million Americans, and lays the groundwork for further work on both growth and deficit reduction.  That is an achievable goal.  That can get done in 10 days," he said.

Saying "nobody gets 100 percent of what they want," Obama said once interim legislation is achieved and passed by the House and Senate, he will sign it immediately into law before January 1.

"The challenge that we have got right now is that the American people are a lot more sensible, and a lot more thoughtful, and much more willing to compromise and give and sacrifice and act responsibly than their elected representatives are," said the president.


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.
Earlier, Boehner put the responsibility for averting the fiscal cliff back to President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate.

"So, unless the president and Congress take action, tax rates will go up on every American taxpayer, and devastating defense cuts will go into effect in 10 days," he said.

Reid urged Boehner to allow a House vote on President Obama's proposal to raise taxes on annual incomes of $400,000 or higher and said Boehner should not blame Obama or Democrats.

"To blame us for that travesty that took place over there, Mr. President, that is pretty incredible," he said.

Analysts warn of severe impacts on the U.S. economy and on global confidence in Washington's ability to resolve disagreements.

Alan Blinder is a professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University and a former vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

"It does not do a country, especially a big, powerful country like the U.S., any good to look clownish in the eyes of the world, and we are looking clownish," said Blinder.

Harvard University economics professor Martin Feldstein warned of the impact of the U.S. falling back into recession.

"If our economy goes into a recession, especially a serious recession, a deep recession, that is going to hit imports from the rest of the world and that is what they care about, and of course to the extent that it messes up financial markets, that has a contagion effect," he said.

After Obama's remarks Friday, a Boehner spokesman said the president still has failed to offer a balanced deficit reduction plan, but that the House Speaker "remains hopeful" and will return after Christmas to try to find a solution.

Having issued the challenge to lawmakers to devise an interim fiscal deal, President Obama departed the White House for Hawaii to begin a holiday vacation with first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: matt from: psl
December 25, 2012 11:22 AM
obama coundn't direct his way out of a paper bag. What a total failure.America is going broke and printing money faster than ever.


by: Raymond Murdock from: Washington DC
December 22, 2012 10:52 AM
The world was made in seven days ... THE EIGHTH TO THINK ... THE NINTH AND TENTH TO DECIDE FOR PROFITS. Raymond Murdock. This is my own academic thought comes to mind that we are within normal parameters. Complex situations are not that difficult to figure out but for selfish, petty and hypocritical ... unavoidable characteristics and determinants of human profile. This reality has not escaped any particular social group or, is as primal as any disability that men hide in their reasoning and not that confusing putting virtuosity diatribes of sophistry the elevation and maturity are two basic and elementary principles in theory have thousand proposals, but in practice succumbs in the folly and ignorance of confused vision for basic and elementary reasoning of convictions out of place as the fundamental precepts of well-intentioned projects that benefit everyone equally. When we speak of equal mind, that friction occurs indirectly ego, ancestry, supremacy, loss of status, etc.. Part of mediocrity, laziness, negligence incurred by those who claim to defend constitutional principles, Magna Carta, Individual Rights, etc.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
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 at the Union League Club 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.

AppleAndroid