News / USA

Obama Open to Talks, Short-Term Debt Deal

Impasse Perists Between Obama, Boehner on Budgeti
X
October 09, 2013 5:33 AM
Rival political parties in Washington are continuing their rhetoric about government funding, raising worldwide concerns that the impasse may lead the United States to default on its debt for the first time in history. For the past week, U.S. President Barack Obama has been urging Republicans to stop jeopardizing the U.S. and global economy. Speaker of the House John Boehner has remained adamant that Democrats must modify the government spending plan to include more Republican preferences.
Watch related video from VOA's Zlatica Hoke
U.S. President Barack Obama says he is open to broad budget talks and a potential short term debt limit deal. But he says he will not sit down with Republicans while a government shutdown continues and Americans are subject to what he calls "extortion" by extreme elements in the Republican Party.  

Obama spoke Tuesday after telephoning Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner to reiterate an offer to negotiate, but not while the partial government shutdown continues, or under the threat of a potential default.

The US debt limit:

  • Is the total amount of money the US government can borrow to meet existing legal obligations
  • Obligations include Social Security, Medicare, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds
  • Raising the debt limit does not authorize new spending commitments
  • Failing to increase the debt limit would cause the government to default on its legal obligations
  • Since 1960, Congress has acted to raise the debt limit 78 times

Source: US Department of Treasury
He said he recognizes the difficulties of working together in a divided government and remains willing to work through a range of issues and negotiate on any topic.  

But he said he will not continue a pattern in which lawmakers hold Americans and the economy "hostage" to specific demands.

"We're not going to pay a ransom for America paying its bills.  That is something that should be non-negotiable, and everybody should agree on that.  Everybody should say one of the most valuable things that we have is America's creditworthiness.  This is not something we should even come close to fooling around with," said President Obama.

Speaker Boehner on Tuesday renewed his appeal for negotiations over Republican demands that have included dismantling or delaying key parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which took effect October 1.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks to the press following a House Republican party meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 8, 2013.U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks to the press following a House Republican party meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 8, 2013.
x
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks to the press following a House Republican party meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 8, 2013.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks to the press following a House Republican party meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 8, 2013.
Boehner said nothing would be off the table in any negotiations.  But reacting to Obama's remarks, the Republican lawmaker suggested that the president is not providing room for compromise.

"What the president said today is, if there is unconditional surrender by Republicans, he will sit down and talk to us," said Boehner.

On Capitol Hill, Democratic Congressman Xavier Becerra accused Republicans of ignoring poll numbers showing Americans are impatient with Republican tactics.

"We should be talking about strengthening the economy and building a stronger middle class.  Instead, we are trying to figure out why Republicans won't let us have a vote on reopening our government," said Becerra.

As the October 17 deadline approaches for Congress to increase the government borrowing limit, the stalemate is fueling speculation that new so-called "grand bargain" deficit talks may be required.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell:

"This is not 2009 and 2010 when our friends on the other side had a total hammer lock on all the government.  We now have divided government.  It means we have to talk to each other and get to an outcome," said McConnell.

Obama reacted skeptically to a House Republican proposal to establish a House-Senate "working group" to seek further deficit reduction, modeled on a so-called "super committee" in 2011.

"What is not fair and will not result in an actual deal is ransom-taking, or hostage-taking, and the expectation that Democrats are providing ransom or providing concessions for the mere act of reopening the government, or paying our bills," said Obama.

The president also spoke about global implications for U.S. credibility of the political stalemate, and the potential of default.

He noted that the U.S. government shutdown forced him to miss attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Indonesia.

"I had to miss critical meetings in Asia to promote American jobs and businesses.  And although as long as we get this fixed, that is not long-term damage, whenever we do these things it hurts our credibility around the world, it makes it look like we don't have our act together," he said.

Obama said there were "lost opportunities" in the short term with countries that welcome the U.S. economic and strategic pivot to Asia, but he believes leaders understand that resolving the U.S. budget dispute is important for them.

President Obama also was asked about the recent U.S. special forces operations in Libya, to apprehend a wanted terrorist, and in Somalia.

Asked if the capture of al-Qaida operative Abu Anas al-Libi complied with international law, he said the U.S. has "strong evidence" that al-Libi "planned and helped execute plots that killed hundreds of people."

Obama said Africa is one place where regional groups, some tied to al-Qaida, have developed that require U.S. action, but he added there is a difference between going after terrorists plotting directly against the U.S. and America being involved in wars.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Connie from: new jersey
October 10, 2013 11:44 AM
Debt problem bigger than people realize just thought if two parties can't come together maybe should have medator like top spiritual leaders,, we need God help with our nation anyway.

by: Dianna from: Texas
October 09, 2013 2:13 PM
What a "POOR EXCUSE WE HAVE AS A PRESIDENT!!!!"
Who is running out nation after all...how is it that "NO ONE" knew that you had no funding in place for the families of our fallen troops!!!!???? Shame on you Barrack Obama...your our leader!!!!
At least I thought so.
In Response

by: Vikki from: California
October 10, 2013 10:44 AM
If Obama was running the country by himself that would be a dictatorship and not democracy. So don't forget to mention Congress as well. Shame on the Speaker of the house and who he represents! Tea Party, Koch Brothers etc. Don't think for one minute both sides did not know how this would affect the military! That's why there was a CR written by the Congress weeks before the shutdown for Obama to sig. Get the facts!

by: JULI EFENDI from: Riau Province,Indonesia
October 08, 2013 9:43 PM
It's a good policy for US. I think when Obama consern about this Budget Talks, Short-Term Debt Deal, But Government Must Reopen First US can be strong. APEC in Nusa Dua Bali is Forum for US making Reletionship for Businnes and making investor in Asia Market.I hope Indonesia can do that next time.
In Response

by: alan from: los angles
October 08, 2013 11:52 PM
let it be

by: crystal from: US
October 08, 2013 9:35 PM
Obama and congress must think every person in the United States is so dumbed down we will believe anything. We know who will not negotiate. Obama care is not free health care, it is no fault health insurance, for the privilege of breathing air. What a joke.

by: Brandt from: Nashville
October 08, 2013 5:10 PM
Boehner is laying the general public on the tracks to be run over in his unwinnable game of chicken. Is the sole purpose of the Republican Party to just bamboozle Obama now? In the process, they’re making every last American dance for their dinner (and healthcare.)

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 08, 2013 2:55 PM
Seems Obama doesn't have good advisers who tell him the truth if he fails to understand it himself. If the country slips into deep recession, who is the number one person to blame for it? Mr. Obama is the one person saddled with the fate of the whole country, and he thinks that because congress slows him down posterity will hold them instead of him accountable for the failure of USA under his presidency? Whoever is assuring the president so that he follows this destructive way must be his worst enemy, because such adviser wants Mr. president to sink his image rather than remain afloat like a proud president of America. Mr. Obama should wake up from his euphoria of being the first black president of USA to the reality of leading the country to more prosperity. Winning the first and second terms is not enough, it is succeeding that matters. Right now the presidency is failing, and the blame will not go to any other than Barrack Obama. Free the country by doing the thing. Now is the time, not tomorrow.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 08, 2013 2:11 PM
It’s a big surprise to hear Mr. Obama talking tough in this way. This was a man that could as much as raise his voice at Assad of Syria, Ahmadinejad of Iran and was so intimidated by Iran’s super-diplomacy that he called Rouhani on his way to the airport. After Syria aided by USSR, sorry Russia, used this approach to force him trip over his red line on Syria’s use of chemical weapons, Mr. Obama must have fallen in love with the bluff and perhaps feels that John Boehner was going to fall for that also. Does he not know that it’s only used when one is operating from a vintage position, not when something as huge as national interest is at stake? Seems Mr. Obama is a president in reverse. He is tough where he should be mild, and shy when he should be bold to assert American position in the comity of nations. I blame the deadlock on Mr. president. It’s either he implements obamacare or another president will do it when the time for it is auspicious.
In Response

by: Anonymous from: Namibia
October 08, 2013 5:09 PM
reference to USSR clearly puts you in the clueless category, and shows where you are mentally coming from -not Nigeria.
In Response

by: Anonymous
October 08, 2013 2:59 PM
Godwin from Nigeria or MEK from Texas? Anyways, the President wants better ties with better sides of Iranians and that is not called "intimidation"

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
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 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 Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
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.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs