US parties ‘far apart’ on debt limit

US parties ‘far apart’ on debt limit
Washington, July 08: US President Barack Obama says Democrats and Republicans are still “far apart” on a wide range of issues in their negotiations on debt reduction. On Tuesday, the Republican and Democrat leaders had been called for a Thursday meeting by the president, who opposed a short-term deal to raise the US debt limit and asked both parties to come to a "tough" compromise over the budget deficit, but there was no specific breakthrough at the end of the session, Reuters reported.

Washington, July 08: US President Barack Obama says Democrats and Republicans are still “far apart” on a wide range of issues in their negotiations on debt reduction.

On Tuesday, the Republican and Democrat leaders had been called for a Thursday meeting by the president, who opposed a short-term deal to raise the US debt limit and asked both parties to come to a “tough” compromise over the budget deficit, but there was no specific breakthrough at the end of the session, Reuters reported.

“I want to emphasize that nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to and the parties are still far apart on a wide range of issues,” Obama told reporters after the Thursday session, adding that a lot of work will be done between now and the next meeting.

“I will reconvene congressional leaders here on Sunday with the expectation that at that point the parties will at least know where each others’ bottom lines are and will hopefully be in a position to then start engaging in the hard bargaining that’s necessary to get a deal done,” he said.

Obama had told the reporters at the White House on Tuesday that a short-term debt-limit increase to avoid defaulting on the USD-14.3 trillion debt would amount to an effort to ”kick the can down the road.”

Republicans reject any tax increases as part of a final deal to raise the borrowing limit, but Obama’s fellow Democrats say nothing should be off limits to balance the federal government’s budget.

The president had said on Tuesday, “We need to take on spending in domestic programs, in defense programs, in entitlement programs, and we need to take on spending in the tax scope.”

A small team of Treasury officials is discussing options to stave off default if Congress fails to raise the country’s borrowing limit by an August 2 deadline.

——Agencies