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

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

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Fake, Substandard Medicines Pose Global Challenge

So-called 'fake drugs' include expired medicines, those with manufacturing defects, and bogus tablets 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.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs