News / USA

Republican Lawmakers Are Divided on US Debt Ceiling Increase

Congress May Resume Debt Squabblingi
February 07, 2014 1:01 AM
Time is running out for Washington lawmakers to reach agreement on dealing with the government's massive debt. The top House Republican says even though there is no deal yet, the nation will not default on its debt. But as VOA’s Jim Randle reports, the two sides seem far apart.
Related video report by Jim Randle:
Michael Bowman
The speaker of the Republican-led House of Representatives said the United States will not default on its $17-trillion national debt, but he is declining comment on legislation needed to raise the U.S. borrowing limit. Uncertainty is mounting weeks before the U.S. Treasury is expected to exhaust its ability to meet federal obligations.

At a news conference, House Speaker John Boehner sought to reassure Americans and global investors that the United States will remain financially solvent. “Listen, we do not want to default on our debt, and we are not going to default on our debt,” he said.

But to avert default, both houses of Congress will have to approve an increase in the federal borrowing limit by the end of the month.

“We have got time to do this. We are going to continue to work at it,” said Boehner.

The speaker is attempting to manage a widely reported rift among Republican legislators as to whether to demand concessions from Democrats on Republican agenda items -- from amending the new health care law, and approving a controversial pipeline for Canadian oil, to federal spending cuts. News reports say Republicans have abandoned most of these ideas, but that some retain a desire to use the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip with Democrats in some still-undefined fashion.

President Barack Obama repeatedly has stated he will not negotiate on the debt ceiling, and that Congress must fulfill its duty to allow the federal government to pay its bills. Democrats in Congress are backing the president, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“This is not a matter of negotiation. This is the full faith and credit of the United States of America,” she said.

Pelosi compared Republicans to diners demanding “a cookie in their lunch. And that is just not right.”

During President Obama’s first term, Republicans succeeded in extracting budgetary concessions from Democrats in return for continued federal spending authority and debt ceiling increases. Last year, however, the president and congressional Democrats announced an end to such negotiations, triggering a partisan stand-off and a 16-day partial government shutdown that ended with Republicans dropping nearly all demands.

Americans mostly blamed Republicans for the shutdown, and Boehner is not eager for another stand-off on the debt ceiling today. At Thursday’s news conference, though, he gave no hints on a path forward.

“No decisions have been made. We are continuing to talk to our [Republican] members,” he said.

One of those members, Congressman Raul Labrador, recently made headlines when he urged fellow Republicans to acknowledge that the debt ceiling would yield no concessions from Democrats.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: JKF2 from: GREAT NORTH (Canada)
February 09, 2014 11:14 PM
The Speakear, as every other rational person, has it right, the US can't default, if it did it would cause a global financial disaster; already the grandstanding of the "tea party" is causing many economist around the world to start re-evaluating the US dollar as the financial currency base. If the US dollar is shunted aside, a potential for serious currency instability could come about, especially if the currency of a dictatorship becomes the favorite standard. The mere fact that people are considering a change, can cause some instability. There is at least 4 ways to reduce the growing deficit: cut expenditures, which could destroy the barely sustainable recovery; increase the the tax rates on all, which is not very palatable to the many; increase the tax base, which is the a good way ahead, through immigration reform, unfortunately the "tea party" extremists are against it; and lastly rapidly expanding the economy, which is also not that palatable, because it requires huge investments in re-tooling/re-enginering and re-educating the in-efficent portions of the economy. This last choice needs to be undertaken, over time. Essentially increasing the tax base/ number of taxpayers, the 10+ million involved in the underground economy, by legalizing their status, is one easy and fast way to collect more taxes.; but this effort will not fully cover the shortfalls, some tax increases are required, and it is not just in the US, but most of the Western World will need to re-tool, re-engineer and re-educate the workforce segments that have been shut out of good jobs/cereers. Unfortunately, the "tea party" extremists would rather sink the ship and their party, than to move rationally to meet the required challenges; interestingly enough, most Western nations have their own version of the "tea partiers". Immigration reform = dramatic increase in the tax base.

by: Kafantaris from: Warren, Ohio
February 07, 2014 1:18 PM
No guts, no glory, Mr. Boehner. Can't claim credit in 2016 for immigration reform unless the GOP tackles the tough issues now. There is more at stake here than each individual congressman's reelection. Without the Latino vote the math is simply not there for any party to win national elections. The future of the Republican Party is thus at stake. The leadership had better get it together then and marginalize those who still get in the way. There is no more room for this "all for me" politics. The good of the Party now comes first -- as does the good of the country.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs