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

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora