News / USA

US Borrowing Limit Talks Gain Urgency

Congressional Democrats speak to reporters after meeting President Obama at the White House, May 2, 2011
Congressional Democrats speak to reporters after meeting President Obama at the White House, May 2, 2011
Kent Klein

A second credit rating agency warns that the U.S. government could lose its top rating if Congress and the Obama administration cannot agree soon to raise the nation’s debt limit.  President Barack Obama discussed the issue at the White House with Democratic lawmakers on Thursday.

President Obama spent a second straight day meeting with members of Congress in an effort to accelerate bipartisan talks on raising the government’s debt ceiling.

The United States reached its borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion May 16.  Opposition Republicans in Congress say they will not approve an increase in that limit unless Democrats agree to massive spending cuts.

After Democrats in the House of Representatives met with the president, their leader, Nancy Pelosi, said lawmakers cannot fail to reach an agreement.

“Our members came together around the idea that not defaulting on the debt was a pivotal moment to enable us to do deficit reduction in a real way, in a balanced way, and in a way that will give confidence to the markets so we do not default on our loans," said Nancy Pelosi.

Mr. Obama met with House Republicans on Wednesday.

Their leader, House Speaker John Boehner, agreed Thursday that failure is not an option.

“It is pretty clear that if we do not act soon and get our fiscal house in order, the markets will act for us," said John Boehner.

Vice President Joe Biden is moderating negotiations between Democratic and Republican lawmakers on raising the debt limit.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded Thursday to questions about why Mr. Obama is not more directly involved in the talks.

“The president is very engaged in this process," said Jay Carney. "He is updated constantly and meeting regularly with his team that is participating in those negotiations.  As for when he might meet with the Speaker of the House or others, I do not have a timetable for you on that.  We look forward to those negotiations continuing to make progress.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner met with Republican lawmakers Thursday.  Afterward, he said he is confident a debt crisis will be averted.

Meanwhile, the credit rating agency Moody’s warned Thursday that the continued lack of progress on the issue could jeopardize the U.S. government’s high credit rating.

Another agency, Standard and Poor’s, issued a similar warning in April.

Moody’s also cautioned that the government’s status could be downgraded if no long-term plan is reached to reduce the federal budget deficit.  That deficit has topped $1 trillion for three straight years.

Moody’s said the amount of political bickering on the issue has exceeded expectations.

The number-two House Democrat, Steny Hoyer, said the report adds urgency to the talks.

“I think we are prepared to work with the Republicans in a bipartisan way to make sure that America’s creditworthiness is not put at risk," said  Steny Hoyer. "I think what Moody’s has done makes that even more clear that it needs to be an objective of us all.”

The two sides have until August 2 to reach an agreement.

Separately, reports released Thursday show that American workers' productivity is growing more slowly than last year and that slightly fewer people signed up for unemployment compensation last week.

The government releases its May unemployment figures on Friday.

Also Friday, President Obama will highlight one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy.  He will visit a Chrysler automobile factory near Toledo, Ohio to highlight the U.S. auto industry’s comeback.  

Chrysler and General Motors have returned to profitability, two years after the government spent roughly $80 billion to keep them from collapsing.  Ford, which did not seek government money, is also making a profit.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid