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 Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid