News / USA

US House Speaker: Debt Negotiations Going 'Nowhere'

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks to reporters after private talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner about the fiscal cliff negotiations, on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 29, 2012.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks to reporters after private talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner about the fiscal cliff negotiations, on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 29, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Michael Bowman
— A stand-off persists between the Obama administration and congressional Republicans on a deficit reduction plan to replace massive automatic tax hikes and federal spending cuts that will go into effect January 1. No one is guaranteeing a deal will be struck before the end-of-year deadline.

With four weeks to go before a draconian austerity regime hits a fragile U.S. economy, Congress’ top Republican, House Speaker Boehner, conceded the United States may, in fact, step off the so-called “fiscal cliff”.

“There is clearly a chance. I am determined to solve our debt problem,” he said.

x
​Boehner spoke on Fox News Sunday.  On the same program, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was asked if he could guarantee a deal will be struck before January 1.

“No, I cannot promise that," Geithner said. "That is a decision that lies in the hands of Republicans.”

Last week, Geithner met with congressional leaders to present the Obama administration’s plan to avert the fiscal cliff. The proposal calls for raising taxes on the wealthy, boosting infrastructure spending, extending federal jobless benefits, trimming costs from a government health-care program for retirees, and locking in projected savings from ending the war in Afghanistan.

“It was not a serious offer,” said Boehner. He added that the administration’s plan amounts to massive tax hikes with no real spending cuts.

“The president is asking for $1.6 trillion worth of new revenue over 10 years.  He has stimulus spending that exceeded the amount of new cuts he is willing to consider," he said.  "If we gave the president $1.6 trillion of new money, what do you think he would do with it?  He is going to spend it.  It is what Washington does.”

Secretary Geithner’s response?  If Republicans want a different deal, they should make a counter-offer with the deeper spending cuts they would like to see.

“If Republicans would like to go beyond these reforms, or they want to do it differently, they should tell us how they want to do it,” he said.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (C) walks through a U.S. Capitol hallway before meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in Washington, D.C., November 29, 2012.U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (C) walks through a U.S. Capitol hallway before meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in Washington, D.C., November 29, 2012.
x
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (C) walks through a U.S. Capitol hallway before meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in Washington, D.C., November 29, 2012.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (C) walks through a U.S. Capitol hallway before meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in Washington, D.C., November 29, 2012.
Geithner said, if negotiations fail, it will be due to Republican inflexibility.

“The only reason it would happen is if a group of members of Congress decide they are going to block an agreement because they want to extend [lower] tax rates for the rich that we cannot afford,” Geithner said.

Republicans counter that what is blocking a deal is President Barack Obama’s insistence on boosting tax rates without substantial spending reduction commitments.

Speaker Boehner said negotiations are stalled. “Right now I would say we are nowhere.  Period, we are nowhere,” he said.

Only one face-to-face meeting on the debt has been held between President Obama and congressional leaders since last month’s elections. White House and congressional staffers have been negotiating in the weeks since, attempting to narrow partisan differences.

America’s annual federal deficit exceeds $1 trillion, and the national debts stands at more than $16 trillion.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid