Obama says U.S. can't afford more showdowns over debt, deficits

HONOLULU Sat Jan 5, 2013 7:26pm IST

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the negotiations with Capitol Hill about the looming fiscal cliff while in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, December 31, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the negotiations with Capitol Hill about the looming fiscal cliff while in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, December 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

Related Topics

HONOLULU (Reuters) - Fresh from the long legislative fight to prevent a "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts, President Barack Obama warned on Saturday that the United States could not afford further budget showdowns this year or in the future.

Obama, who returned to Hawaii for a family vacation shortly after the House of Representatives passed a compromise bill on Tuesday, said in his weekly radio and Internet address that the new law was just one step toward fixing the country's fiscal and economic problems.

"We still need to do more to put Americans back to work while also putting this country on a path to pay down its debt, and our economy can't afford more protracted showdowns or manufactured crises along the way," he said in the address, broadcast on Saturday.

"Because even as our businesses created 2 million new jobs last year - including 168,000 new jobs last month - the messy brinkmanship in Congress made business owners more uncertain and consumers less confident."

Government data released on Friday showed the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent in December.

Lawmakers in the Senate and the House passed legislation this week that raised tax rates for the wealthiest Americans while making Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class permanent.

It was a victory for Obama, who campaigned for re-election largely on a promise to achieve that goal.

Republicans have indicated that they are ready for another fight over the U.S. debt ceiling. Representative Dave Camp, delivering his party's weekly address, warned, at least indirectly, that they would expect spending cuts in return for raising the ceiling again.

"Many of our Democrat colleagues just don't seem to get it. Throughout the fiscal cliff discussions, the president and the Democrats who control Washington repeatedly refused to take any meaningful steps to make Washington live within its means," Camp said.

"As we turn our attention toward future discussions on the debt limit and the budget, we must identify responsible ways to tackle Washington's wasteful spending."

Obama repeated that he would not negotiate on the debt ceiling, hoping to avoid the 2011 conflict that led to a credit rating downgrade and pushed the country close to default.

"If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic," he said. "Our families and our businesses cannot afford that dangerous game again."

Obama said he was willing to do more on deficit reduction and suggested that the hike in tax rates for wealthy Americans was not the last tax change he expected to make.

"Spending cuts must be balanced with more reforms to our tax code," he said. "The wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations shouldn't be able to take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren't available to most Americans."

(Editing by Christopher Wilson)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Press Event

Press Event

Modi takes tea, but no questions, in first press event as PM.  Full Article 

Monetary Policy

Monetary Policy

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley favours interest rate cut - paper  Full Article 

Sundar Pichai Elevated

Sundar Pichai Elevated

Google's Pichai to oversee major products and services.  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

India's growth pace to pick up as reforms draw investment   Full Article 

Need For Reforms

Need For Reforms

Euro zone risks "relapse into recession" without structural reforms - Draghi.  Full Article 

Diwali Sales

Diwali Sales

Gold sales jump about 20 pct for Diwali - trade body  Full Article 

World Bank Rival

World Bank Rival

Three major nations absent as China launches W.Bank rival in Asia  Full Article 

Health Of Lenders

Health Of Lenders

25 European banks set to fail health checks - sources.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage