US President Barack Obama
Source: Press TV
US President Barack Obama has signed an emergency austerity bill that averted a debt default, warning that it was “just the first step” and more measures should be taken to rebuild the US economy.
In a speech in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday, just a few hours before the deadline when the US would have defaulted on its $14.3 trillion debt if the debt ceiling had not been raised, Obama said that he had signed the emergency austerity bill passed by the Senate.
He emphasized that the compromise would require that both parties work together on a larger plan to cut the deficit by over $2 trillion, AFP reported on Tuesday.
Concerning 'the Debt Ceiling Increase' also known as 'the Budget Control Act of 2011,' Obama said, “Since you can't close the deficit with just spending cuts, we'll need a balanced approach where everything is on the table.”
“Yes, that means making some adjustments to protect health care programs like Medicare so they're there for future generations,” he added.
Obama noted that it also means reforming the US tax code so that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations pay their fair share.
“And it means getting rid of taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas companies, and tax loopholes that help billionaires pay a lower tax rate than teachers and nurses.”
Obama said that the main effort will be made to “make it easier for businesses to put up that 'now hiring' sign again.”
The US president asked the Congress to pass a set of trade deals, already negotiated, that would help displaced workers looking for new jobs and would allow businesses to sell more products in countries in Asia and South America.
“We've seen in the past few days that Washington has the ability to focus when there's a timer ticking down, and when there's a looming disaster. It shouldn't take the risk of default -- the risk of economic catastrophe -- to get folks in this town to work together and do their jobs,” Obama stressed.
“There's already a quiet crisis going on in the lives of a lot of families, in a lot of communities, all across the country,” he admitted.