Entries in Debt Talks (3)


Obama Defends Debt Ceiling Decision to Supporters 

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama asked for about 140 seconds of his supporters' time Monday to explain in a video released by his re-election campaign why he did what he did to push through a deal on raising the nation's debt ceiling.

The president explained that Washington had no other choice but to avoid defaulting on the government's bills, a default that would have dealt "a devastating blow to our economy at a time when we can least afford it."

In downplaying the GOP success in getting the deal done, Obama also tried to minimize the coming $1 trillion in spending cuts that will occur over the first decade of the plan.

What the president said he's most concerned with is the second phase of the proposal, involving a special commission of 12 legislators who will recommend reductions to shrink the deficit by another $1.5 trillion by 2021.

With their recommendations due this November, Obama vowed to push for an end to tax breaks for the top two percent of American wage-earners and corporations, saying a balanced approach is the best way to replenish the nation's coffers.

Failing that, triggers are built into the plan that would mean automatic big reductions in Medicare and Pentagon spending.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Americans Await Congressional Approval of Debt Ceiling Agreement 

Gavel and American flag(WASHINGTON) -- Nervous Americans from all facets of the political spectrum have been awaiting word from Capitol Hill that the weeks of anxious waiting for a deal to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling are finally over, so America can pay its bills without going into unprecedented default.

A collective sigh of relief was heard Sunday evening when President Obama announced a tentative deal on the debt ceiling.  However, things can still unravel quickly if Tea Party Republicans in the House feel the cuts don’t go far enough, or liberal Democrats feel social programs precious to them are unfairly targeted.

The country has already gone through plenty of drama.  House Republicans last Friday finally agreed to plan by House Speaker John Boehner to lower the national debt and vote on a balanced budget amendment, only to see it turned away by Senate Democrats, who also watched as their own spending reduction plan came up well short of the votes needed for passage.

With the clocking ticking closer toward August 2 and a possible disastrous default, Senate Democratic and Republican leaders seriously started heeding President Obama's urgent call for compromise.
The White House also stressed there were no guarantees that checks to retirees, veterans and American's current military personnel would be mailed after Tuesday unless an agreement was reached.

While specifics about the deal weren’t immediately available, it’s believed that the cuts totaling between $2 trillion and $3 trillion would be divided equally between defense and domestic spending.

Still, all it takes is a combination of 217 House Republicans and Democrats to scuttle the deal and potentially send the economy spiraling downward.

For now, things are looking up.  World markets Monday responded favorably to the agreement and Wall Street is expected to at least partially reverse last week's 500-point loss. Economists, however, aren't entirely sure if the nation's Triple A credit rating is still solid, even if Congress approves the deal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Debt Talks: Obama Urges Americans to Get Involved, Calls Pour Into Capitol

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama directed Americans to get involved in the debt ceiling debate in his address to the nation Monday night.

Americans, it seems, have obliged.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid received over 600 calls between 8-10 a.m. Tuesday.  His office has six people now working the phones, and they continue to be “inundated.”

“If you want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, let your Member of Congress know.  If you believe we can solve this problem through compromise, send that message,” Obama said.

Phones have been “off the hook” since the office opened at 8 a.m. Tuesday, according to a Reid staffer.  Another Democratic Senator’s office says they received at least 110 calls Tuesday morning alone -- which is 3-4 times the normal call volume.

It's no different over in the House of Representatives, where an email went out to offices warning lawmakers to give alternate phone numbers to constituents.

“Due to the high volume of external calls, House telephone circuits serving 202-225-XXXX phone numbers are near capacity resulting in outside callers occasionally getting busy signals. Outbound calls are unaffected,” read the email from the House call center.

“During this time offices may wish to provide district office staff and key contacts with an alternate 202-226-XXXX extension, if available, until call volumes subside.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio