News / USA

White House and Congressional Leaders: No Default on US Debt

President Barack Obama meets with congressional leaders on deficit reduction in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, July 13, 2011
President Barack Obama meets with congressional leaders on deficit reduction in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, July 13, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +
Michael Bowman

The White House and congressional leaders remain adamant the United States will not default on its $14.3 trillion national debt, less than three weeks before a deadline for raising the federal borrowing limit.  But a bipartisan deal to put the nation on a sustainable fiscal path shows no sign of materializing.

On one point top Democrats and Republicans agree: failing to raise America’s debt ceiling in time to avert a default on federal obligations is unthinkable.  Jacob Lew is President Barack Obama’s top budget official. "All the leaders of Congress and the president have acknowledged that we must raise the debt limit, and the question is how," he said.

Lew spoke on ABC’s This Week television program.

The Senate’s number-two Republican, Jon Kyl, had a similar message. “The country will not default.  Whether or not there are savings achieved in the process remains open to question," he said.

Weeks of negotiations have failed to yield a so-called “grand bargain” to trim U.S. budget deficits by $4 trillion over 10 years.  The impasse has prompted several fallback plans to raise the debt ceiling if the $4 trillion target is not met.

Senate leaders are negotiating a plan that would allow President Obama to extend the federal borrowing limit even if majority votes in Congress do not materialize authorizing such a move.  In the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, a vote is expected later this week that would tie a debt ceiling increase to a more-modest deficit reduction target, as well as a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.

Neither plan of last resort is seen as solving America’s fiscal woes.  Appearing on CBS’ Face The Nation program, Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma criticized any attempt to shield Congress from painful votes to raise the borrowing limit. “It takes the pressure off all the politicians.  It allows us to pass a debt limit [increase] without making the hard choices that this country has to make," he said.

Another Republican, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, blasted any scaling back of deficit reduction goals. “The real problem here is not the debt limit.  The real problem here is the debt.  If all we do is raise the debt limit, and it is not accompanied by a credible solution to America’s debt problem, we are in big trouble," he said.

August 2 is the deadline for raising the federal government’s borrowing limit.  Beyond that date, treasury officials say the U.S. government risks default.

Some Republican lawmakers have questioned this assertion, saying the United States could service the national debt and fulfill core obligations using tax revenue alone.  Democrats and the White House dispute the claim, saying the government would have to choose between interest payments on the debt, funding programs that provide income and health care for retirees, and funding the U.S. military.

Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew says there is still time strike a deal and avert financial ruin.  But he adds that time is running out. “It is kind of unfortunate that things always have to get to the last minute.  Sometimes there are no consequences.  Right now, we are in a place where the world is watching, and we should get our business done," he said.

Credit ratings agencies have warned of a possible downgrading of U.S. debt, which would make U.S. Treasury bonds less attractive to investors and creditor nations and require higher interest rates to attract purchasers.  Economists warn that higher interest rates would cripple America’s shaky economic recovery.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
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.
AppleAndroid