US Leaders Seek Debt Reduction Accord

Posted July 24th, 2011 at 7:50 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

With a deadline fast approaching, the White House and U.S. congressional leaders are continuing efforts to reach an agreement that will prevent the world's richest nation from defaulting on its debt.

The leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives, John Boehner, called Sunday on his fellow Republicans to support what he called a “new measure” that would involve a short-term extension of the debt ceiling accompanied by a package of spending cuts. Boehner earlier said he was not sure a bipartisan deal could be reached.

President Barack Obama has said he wants an ambitious debt-reduction package that would keep the issue off the agenda until after next year's general election.

August 2 is the deadline for raising the debt ceiling and allowing the federal government to continue to borrow money. The Obama administration and congressional leaders had hoped to announce a framework for an agreement before Asian financial markets opened on Monday. But that time passed with no deal announced.

The biggest stumbling block is said to be the refusal of Republicans to agree to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations, which Mr. Obama is demanding. Republicans say the administration has refused to agree to spending cuts that would allow them to reach agreement on raising the debt ceiling.

The U.S. Treasury Department, the central bank and the White House have warned that a default would have catastrophic consequences on the U.S. economy and a ripple effect on economies around the world.