World News

    Treasury Secretary Says US Must Raise Debt Limit

    US Treasury Secretary Urges Swift Debt Limit Hikei
    X
    October 10, 2013 4:12 PM
    One week before a potential U.S. debt default, the Obama administration says lawmakers must raise America’s borrowing limit, and must do so promptly. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned of severe economic and financial fallout if the U.S. government were suddenly to become insolvent.
    "US Treasury Secretary Urges Swift Debt Limit Hike" - related video report by Michael Bowman
    VOA News
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says it would be "a grave mistake" for the United States to fail to increase its borrowing limit in the next week so it does not default on a wide range of financial obligations.

    Lew told a Senate panel Thursday the U.S. will run out of borrowing authority in a week as its reaches its current $16.7 trillion debt ceiling. At that point, he said the Treasury would only have about $30 billion on hand and some incoming revenue, but not enough to pay all its bills.

    He said the government should not have to make "perilous choices" whether it uses its available cash to pay government bond holders, pension and health benefits owed to older Americans, aid to military veterans or businesses that provide services to the government.

    "The United States should not be put in a position of making such perilous choices for our economy and our citizens," he said. "There is no way of knowing the irrevocable damage such an approach would have on our economy and financial markets."

    But Lew declined to say how much of an increase U.S. President Barack Obama wants in the debt ceiling, other than to say it should cover borrowing needs for a longer, rather than shorter period of time.

    The debate over increasing the U.S. debt limit comes in the midst of a 10-day partial government shutdown because of a stalemate between Obama, a Democrat, and his Republican opponents in Congress over government spending priorities and the implementation of widespread health care reforms that are his signature legislative achievement.

    Senator Max Baucus, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that while the government shutdown "has been disruptive, a default would be a financial heart attack."

    Republican Orrin Hatch criticized Obama for not negotiating over government spending issues while asking for an increase in the country's debt limit without conditions.

    Hatch noted that in 2006, then-Senator Obama called a proposed increase in the debt ceiling at the time a "failure of leadership," when Republican President George W. Bush was in office. Hatch said the borrowing limit has since been increased seven times during Obama's term in the White House, from $11.3 trillion to the current $16.7 trillion.

    U.S. news outlets say congressional Republicans are considering a proposal to temporarily extend the government's borrowing authority - possibly for four to six weeks - in order to end the debt ceiling stalemate with the president to avoid a potential default.  

    House Republicans are scheduled to discuss the issue early Thursday, hours before a small group will hold talks with Obama at the White House. The president invited all 232 House Republicans, but Speaker John Boehner is sending just 18 of his members, and only those with leadership posts.

    The standoff over the government shutdown between Republicans and Obama is chiefly over the president's health care law that by January will require most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine.

    Republicans had originally sought to either end spending for the law or delay it in exchange for halting the shutdown and raising the debt ceiling, and Boehner has called on Obama to hold negotiations before letting the House vote.  

    But the president says he will not negotiate until Congress approves the issues without any conditions. The partial shutdown has halted numerous government services, including death benefits to the families of U.S. service members killed in combat.  The public backlash prompted the House to vote unanimously Wednesday to restore the benefits. The measure now goes to the Senate.

    The Pentagon has reached an agreement with a private charity to pay the benefits until funding is restored.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora