Aug. 6 - U.S. President Obama says more work ahead to get U.S. finances in order. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
In his weekly internet and radio address recorded before S&P downgraded US debt, U.S. President Barack Obama urged lawmakers to set aside partisan politics and put America's fiscal house in order. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama, saying (English): "Congress reached an agreement that's going to allow us to make some progress in reducing our nation's budget deficit," he said. "And through this compromise, both parties are going to have to work together on a larger plan to get our nation's finances in order." The President, whose 2012 re-election could hinge on his ability to reduce stubbornly high unemployment, called on Congress to back measures to give tax relief to the middle class, extend jobless benefits and pass long-delayed international trade pacts. Obama is seeking to overcome partisan rancor after a $2.1 trillion deficit-reduction deal reached with Republicans just before the government was due to run out of money to pay all of its bills. That agreement fell short of the $4 trillion in savings over 10 years S&P said was needed to avoid a ratings cut. S&P also cited the political brinkmanship over raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit as a source of uncertainty for future policymaking. The downgrade, which the U.S. Treasury denounced as based on a "flawed" analysis, could raise borrowing costs at a time when some economists fear the United States could slip back into recession. And now Obama is running out of options to boost growth. Republicans, who control the U.S. House of Representatives, oppose further stimulus spending. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama, saying (English): "While deficit reduction has to be part of our economic strategy, it's not the only thing we have to do," We need Democrats and Republicans to work together to help grow this economy. We've got to put politics aside." This comes as Wall Street closed its worst week in more than two years, reflecting frustration with a stumbling U.S. recovery and with politicians' halting responses to debt troubles in Europe and the United States. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters