Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Obama tries to raise US debt ceiling

US President Barack Obama

Source: Press TV

US President Barack Obama is making a last-ditch effort to get a bipartisan congressional consensus to raise the country's debt ceiling.

The White House said on Monday that the president is confident that both Democrats and Republicans could make compromises to lift the debt limit to avoid a default, Reuters reported.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "The president told me that everyone in the room believes a significant deal remains possible." He made the remarks after Obama held a discussion with Sen. Harry Reid, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate.

Later in the day, Obama held a meeting with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell but neither made any comments on the outcome.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have showed little willingness to compromise on the issue after the deficit reduction talks led by Vice President Joe Biden collapsed suddenly on Thursday.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has warned lawmakers that if the United States does not take the necessary steps by August 2, the country will be at risk of defaulting on its loans.

Earlier in the month, the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives turned down a draft bill intended to raise the country's borrowing limit, which currently stands at a whopping $14.3 trillion.

However, economists say that if the United States refuses to increase its debt limit, it could be devastating for the US and other economies around the world.

Although US lawmakers are engaged in heated arguments on whether to cut spending for public services, such as education and elderly healthcare, increase taxes, or raise the borrowing level, they continue to authorize the US government to spend tens of billions of dollars for military interventions in other countries.

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