UNITED States (U.S.) President Barack Obama Tuesday declared that he was willing to negotiate with Republicans in passing at least a short-term budget that opens up the government at current funding levels.
But Obama, during a media briefing Tuesday, said his offer to negotiate with Republicans on the issues would “absolutely” stand if Congress passes even short-term clean spending and debt ceiling bills.
However, he declared that “the only thing that I will say is, we’re not going to pay ransom for” America paying its bills.
This came as it was revealed yesterday that there are no talks going on at any level to resolve differences over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling deadline.
But Washington’s march toward self-inflicted financial calamity is setting off alarm bells around the world as general bewilderment turns into genuine concern over a possible default by the world’s lone superpower.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as China and Japan – which hold a combined $2.4 trillion in U.S. debt – have called for a quick resolution to the crisis and expressed worries over the economic consequences of a default.
Meanwhile, Obama said U.S. credit-worthiness will be affected if markets see that “we’re not paying all our bills on time.”
Noting that he missed a major conference in Asia this week because of the government shutdown issues, said the president said: “whenever we do these things, it hurts our credibility around the world. Makes it look like we don’t have our act together.”
He warned that if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling, “every American could see their 401Ks and home values fall,” and the country would see a “very significant risk” of a deep recession.
Obama said that Congress has to vote to raise the debt ceiling as soon as it votes to reopen the government. Failing to raise the debt ceiling “would be dramatically worse” than a government shutdown, he said.
He criticised House Republican tactics in dealing with the government shutdown and a debt ceiling increase. “Let’s lift these threats from our families and our businesses and let’s get down to work,” he told reporters yesterday.
Obama spoke after Republicans reportedly offered a new approach yesterday to resolve the U.S. fiscal standoff, proposing creation of a bipartisan panel to work on deficit reduction and find ways to end the government shutdown and make recommendations on a debt-limit increase.
The proposal, which was quickly dismissed by Democrats, came as House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama spoke by telephone shortly after Boehner adopted a slightly more conciliatory tone in comments to reporters.
“There are no boundaries here. There’s nothing on the table, there’s nothing off the table,” Boehner said after a meeting with House Republicans, making no mention of his recent demands to delay parts of Obama’s healthcare law in return for approving funds to end the government shutdown.
In the first official response by China, Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said that a solution must be found quickly in order to “ensure the safety of Chinese investments” and provide stability for economies around the globe.
“We ask that the United States earnestly take steps to resolve in a timely way the political issues around the debt ceiling and prevent a debt default,” he said. “This is the United States’ responsibility.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has trimmed its forecast for global economic growth at the same time as lifting its UK growth projection.
It now expects global growth of 2.9% this year, a cut of 0.3% from July’s estimate. In 2014 it expects global growth of 3.6%, down 0.2%.
It cited weakness in emerging economies for the cut.
But it warns that the political standoff over raising the US government’s borrowing limit, if it results in the US defaulting on its debt payments, “could seriously damage the global economy”.
It expects growth of 1.6% in the US this year and 2.6% next year, down 0.1% and 0.2% from its July forecast.
Economists have predicted that a default would do great harm to economies around the world.
Obama recounted to reporters his telephone discussion yesterday morning with House Speaker John Boehner:
He was happy to eventually talk with Republicans about issues they care about, but that “shouldn’t require threats of a government shutdown” or economic chaos over the heads of the American people.
Yesterday, there were news conferences and a high-level phone call between Obama and the House Speaker, but no immediate sign of progress on reopening the government a week into a partial shutdown or reaching a deal to avoid the first-ever U.S. default next week.
Obama called Boehner yesterday morning, and the White House then announced the president would make a statement and take some questions from reporters at 2 p.m. ET.
Earlier, Boehner demanded that Obama and Democrats negotiate with Republicans on steps needed to end the shutdown that began on October 1 and raise the nation’s debt ceiling before the deadline for default on October 17.
“Americans expect us to work out our differences, but refusing to negotiate is an untenable position,” Boehner said, adding that Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are “putting our country on a pretty dangerous path” by rejecting GOP calls for talks.
Source : ngrguardiannews.com