News / USA

'Fiscal Cliff' Deal Outlines Emerging

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by the Republican leadership speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations with President Obama following a closed-door strategy session, at the Capitol in Washington, December 18, 2012.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by the Republican leadership speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations with President Obama following a closed-door strategy session, at the Capitol in Washington, December 18, 2012.
VOA News
U.S. leaders are edging closer to a compromise on contentious end-of-year mandates for sharp spending cuts in key government programs and tax increases for almost all American workers.

Significant hurdles remain to a deal, but the outlines of an agreement seemed to be emerging Tuesday, even as U.S. President Barack Obama and his Republican opponents in Congress spar over the details.


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.
Throughout his successful re-election campaign, Obama called for ending a tax break for the wealthiest households, those making more than $250,000 a year. But now the president, a Democrat, says he is willing to keep the tax cut for those earning up to $400,000 annually. The leader of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner, says Republicans wants the tax break extended for taxpayers making up to $1 million.

"I think we all know that every income tax filer in America is going to pay higher rates come January 1st, unless Congress acts. So I believe it's important that we protect as many American taxpayers as we can, and our Plan B would protect American taxpayers who make $1 million or less," said Boehner.

The White House said Boehner's call for extending the tax break to $1 million wage earners "doesn't ask enough of the very wealthiest."

Obama has also reduced his demand for more taxes over the next decade from $1.4 trillion to $1.2 trillion and said he would agree to a Republican call to curb spending for government pensions for retired workers by changing the way annual increases in the payments are calculated.

Even as they move closer to an agreement, the problem for both Obama and Boehner is whether they can convince their political colleagues to support the emerging compromise. In the U.S., Democrats have adamantly opposed any changes in Social Security, the pension plan for retirees, while Republicans have steadfastly stood against tax increases.

The two sides are trying to avoid what Washington is calling a "fiscal cliff," about $500 billion in mandated spending cuts for defense and domestic programs and higher taxes throughout the U.S. labor force that are set to take effect January 1.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
December 18, 2012 2:39 PM
all tycoons are so selfish that their selfishness will surely ruin their common shelter: the United States of American.

by: Cranksy from: USA
December 18, 2012 1:37 PM
Social Security is irrelevant to the deficit or the debt. It is not financed by the income tax.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More