Monday, June 27, 2011

US lawmakers at odds over debt crisis

US President Barack Obama

Source: Press TV

US Republican and Democratic lawmakers are at loggerheads on how to deal with the country's overflowing 14-trillion-dollar debt.

Ahead of scheduled meetings between both parties and US President Barack Obama on Monday, the only three options on the table for discussion remain to be raising the debt limit, increasing taxes, and cutting spending on public services, AFP reported.

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

The meetings come as Republicans walked out from talks regarding the issue, in protest to the idea of raising taxes for the nation's wealthiest.

"I wish they (Republicans) would get beyond their talking points and really get honest with the American people as to what these discussions are about," Democratic Congressman James Clyburn said.

"We ought not [to] have these oil subsidies. We ought not [to] have all these ethanol subsidies. We ought not [to] have all these new breaks for millionaires and billionaires. We ought to be honest with the American people and have an effective tax rate that will be fair to everybody," he added.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the other hand, says the country should “cut spending now” as the US is heading towards bankruptcy, according to “president's own trustees”.

“Republicans don't like to raise taxes; Democrats don't like to either,” McConnell noted, adding that the US does not have a problem with low taxes, but that the problem is high spending.

He also stated that his rival Democrats are willing to cut the Medicare health coverage spending for the elderly, adding that such measures could pass at the US House of Representatives.

The White House, however, claims that Republicans are merely looking for ways to secure the current tax loopholes for the rich and corporations, as well as maintaining the subsidies for oil and gas companies.

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

Experts, however, insist that failure to increase the debt limit could be devastating for the US and other economies around the world.

As US lawmakers continue heated arguments on whether to cut spending for public services such as education and elderly healthcare, increase taxes or raise the borrowing level, they have authorized the US government to spend tens of billions of dollars to engage in military invasion of other countries.

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