Obama Urges ‘Shared Compromise’ to Break Stalemate in Debt Talks

Posted July 16th, 2011 at 4:00 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama has urged Congress to enter into what he called “shared compromise ” in an effort to solve the country's debt and deficit problems.

In his weekly address Saturday, Mr. Obama said he is willing to do whatever it takes to solve the problem, even if it is not politically popular.

But with an August 2 deadline approaching to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling or allow the United States to default, the two sides appear far from an agreement.

Mr. Obama said earlier he would consider cuts in popular entitlements including pensions, health care for the elderly, and aid to veterans. In return, the president has called for higher taxes on wealthy Americans and large corporations, which Republicans reject.

In the weekly Republican address, Senator Orrin Hatch blamed Democrats for the financial mess and said the president and his Democratic allies in Congress need to come up with a serious plan to control runaway spending. Senator Hatch said that cutting spending, limiting expenditures and requiring balanced budgets is the only long-term solution to government overspending.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner, said Friday the House will vote next week on a $2.4 trillion measure to raise the debt ceiling through 2012 if Congress passes a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.

President Obama said getting such major cuts without increasing revenue would cause unacceptably deep cuts in programs that are vital to many Americans. He also said elected officials do not need a constitutional amendment to make the tough spending decisions that are a key part of their jobs.

Meanwhile, credit rating agencies have warned that the U.S. government's credit rating would be downgraded if an agreement is not reached soon.