Obama Urges Action On Debt Issue

Posted July 29th, 2011 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama says it is increasingly urgent that Democrats and Republicans in Congress reach agreement on a measure to increase the legal limit on government borrowing and cut spending.

Mr. Obama says the two sides are in rough agreement on how much spending to cut, and on a process to reform taxes and cut spending on social programs.

He said the top Democrat in the Senate has put forward a plan that could be the basis for compromise, and added that the Senate’s top Republican has offered useful ideas. He criticized Republicans in the House of Representatives for continuing work on a proposal that he said could not become law.

Washington faces a Tuesday deadline to work out a deal before the Treasury says it will run out of money to pay all of its bills.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid says he will call for a vote Friday on his plan to cut government spending by $2.4 trillion while raising the legal limit on borrowing enough to fund the government through the end of 2012.

Republicans in the House of Representatives are revising a plan by Speaker John Boehner to cut spending and to raise the $14.3 trillion borrowing limit. Thursday, Boehner put off a vote on the measure because he had too few votes to pass it.

Boehner’s original plan would raise the borrowing limit in exchange for more than $900 billion in spending cuts over the next 10 years. It would also bring the issue up again in less than a year, offering to raise the debt limit again if Washington can work out additional spending cuts. Democrats oppose this provision of Boehner’s plan because they say it would mean another round of divisive political wrangling.

Members of the conservative Tea Party faction of the Republican Party say Boehner’s plan does not cut enough spending.