News / USA

    Obama Calls for 'Balanced Plan' of Spending Cuts, Tax Reform

    President Barack Obama delivers a speech to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington,  Sept. 8, 2011
    President Barack Obama delivers a speech to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, Sept. 8, 2011

    President Barack Obama has urged a joint session of the U.S. Congress to end what he calls the "political circus" in Washington, and move rapidly to approve job creation legislation he is sending to Capitol Hill.

    The president designed his speech to substantially raise the stakes in his struggle with Republicans over how to address stubborn 9.1 percent unemployment, and continue to fix the nation's fiscal woes.

    Urged by fellow Democrats to put forward the boldest possible proposals, he unveiled a legislative package estimated at $450 billion, including extended payroll tax cuts for workers and employers, and incentives for businesses to hire.

    As a spending bill, what he is calling The American Jobs Act would be considered and voted on first by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

    Mr. Obama says it would provide a jolt to a stalled economy.

    "I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away.  It’s called the American Jobs Act.  There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation.  Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans - including many who sit here tonight.  And everything in this bill will be paid for.  Everything," Mr. Obama said.

    Mr. Obama's speech came after months of difficult political battles with Republicans over how to lower government deficits and the $14 trillion national debt.

    A compromise this past July provided for $1 trillion in spending cuts linked to raising the national debt ceiling, but also led to a harmful downgrading of the government's credit rating.

    Mr. Obama made a point of underscoring past bipartisan support for proposals in his jobs package. And he called on Democrats and Republicans to end the political warfare to put people back to work and the economy back on track.

    "The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities.  The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours.  The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy; whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning," Mr. Obama said.

    Key aspects include proposals to rebuild and modernize U.S. infrastructure and schools, financial aid to cash-poor state and local governments, job training to help the long-term unemployed, and steps to encourage hiring of military veterans.

    Mr. Obama said the wealthiest Americans and large corporations should pay more through elimination of tax loopholes, and repeated his call for a balanced plan that would include "modest adjustments" in expensive government health care programs.

    The president plans to send Congress a more ambitious plan in 10 days that will include the cost of his jobs proposal and steps to stabilize the U.S. debt in the long run.

    And he is asking the bipartisan congressional committee created by the debt and deficit deal to find more than the $1.5 trillion in additional savings it is tasked with identifying.

    In initial reaction, Republican House Speaker John Boehner said Mr. Obama's proposals "merit consideration" adding that he hopes the president gives serious consideration to Republican proposals. Other Republicans had harsher assessments.

    Republican Senator Orrin Hatch voiced skepticism, but said he would wait for details of the plan.

    "I'm going to give it a good look and hopefully support the president, but right now it looks to me like more of the same," Hatch said.

    Statements from key Democratic leaders praised the president, saying he had laid out reasonable proposals to tackle unemployment that will be paid for as part of broader debt and deficit reduction efforts.

    In his address, Mr. Obama said while some lawmakers might feel differences can be resolved only through the ballot box, Americans "living paycheck to paycheck" need a Congress that will act now.

    "Know this:  the next election is fourteen months away.  And the people who sent us here - the people who hired us to work for them - they don’t have the luxury of waiting fourteen months," the president said.

    The president said he will be traveling in coming weeks to urge public support for his jobs proposal, and to urge Americans to tell Congress that "doing nothing is not an option."

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Leaderless, Rudderless, Britain Drifts

    Experts predicted chaos would follow, if Britain decided to vote for Brexit, and chaos has

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    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.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    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 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 New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    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.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora