News / USA

US Deficit Reduction Deal Remains Elusive

Michael Bowman

President Barack Obama met with the U.S. Congress’ top Republican, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Sunday in search of a deficit-reduction package that would prevent substantial spending cuts and tax increases from going into effect on January 1.

Sunday’s meeting at the White House marked the first face-to-face debt discussions between President Obama and Speaker Boehner in nearly a month.  After their first encounter, the White House and Mr. Boehner made opening bids on a debt-reduction package that would avert the so-called fiscal cliff.  Each side rejected the other’s offer as unacceptable, a stance that lawmakers voiced on U.S. television only hours before the Obama-Boehner meeting.

“Unfortunately, what we see out of the president is ‘my way or the highway’," said Republican Congressman Jeb Hensarling. Appearing on ABC’s This Week program, Hensarling said the stumbling block to a deal is Obama’s insistence on higher tax rates.

“No Republican wants to vote for a tax-rate increase," he said.

But some Republicans say they would accept higher taxes on the wealthy in return for reforms to programs that provide health care and income for retirees.  Senator Tom Coburn also appeared on This Week. “Will I accept a tax increase as part of a deal to actually solve our problems?  Yes," he said.

Coburn insists tax hikes alone will not solve America’s trillion-dollar annual federal deficit. But just as many Republicans dislike tax hikes, many Democrats are reluctant to reform programs relied on by retirees, as well as the poor and vulnerable.

Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva said it is unjust to ask middle and lower-income Americans to bear the burden of deficit reduction, after a decade of rising income inequality between the wealthy and everyone else. “And now we are being asked to go back to the same people who have endured this crisis, and ask them to pay up again.  No," he said.

President Obama has urged Congress to extend existing tax breaks for all income under $250,000 a year, an idea that has the backing of Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow.

“At the end of this year, if the House of Representatives does not pass the middle-class tax cut, we are going to see middle-class families across this country paying at least $2,200 more in taxes they cannot afford," he said.

If lawmakers do not reach a debt agreement, federal taxes will rise for all income groups, and domestic and military spending will be cut across the board beginning January 1.  Economists believe an austerity jolt of that magnitude could send the U.S. economy back into recession.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid