lunes, 25 de julio de 2011

Hillary Clinton 'confident' over US debt deal

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has said she is "confident" the president and Congress will reach a deal to raise the US debt ceiling.
Her comments follow similar remarks by US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
On Sunday, Mr Geithner told ABC News the process to ratify a deal needed to be underway in Congress by Monday night in order to reach a 2 August deadline.
The US risks default on its $14.3tn (£8.7tn) debt without a deal to raise the borrowing limit.
Weekend talks between President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders failed to reach agreement.
If the ceiling is not raised, the US Treasury could run out of money to pay all of its bills - which could lead to interest rate rises, threaten the US economic recovery and in turn the global recovery.
Prices of advance contracts to buy shares on the US benchmark Dow Jones index fell by more than 0.5% in advance of the market opening on Monday.
Debt law "Let me assure you we understand the stakes. We know how important this is for us and how important it is for you," Mrs Clinton told Hong Kong business leaders.
"I'm confident Congress will do the right thing and secure a deal on the debt ceiling," she said.
Mrs Clinton said US spending would be cut and called on Asian countries to make changes of their own in order to make it easier for the US to export to the region.
The US federal government is running a large budget deficit - equal to $1.3tn, or more than $4,000 per person, during the 12 months to June this year.
The borrowing is required to meet the government's agreed spending plans and because its ability to raise taxes is limited under current laws.
But the government must also comply with a law that limits the total amount of debt it can take on - the debt ceiling.
President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats have been seeking to hammer out a deal with Republicans who control the House of Representatives to cut the annual budget deficit in return for a rise in the total debt ceiling.

Who owns the $14.3tn debt?

  • US government owes itself $4.6tn
  • Remaining $9.7tn owed to investors
  • They include banks, pension funds, individual investors, and state/local/foreign governments
  • China: $1.16tn, Japan: $0.91tn, UK: $0.35tn
  • Deficit is annual difference between spending and revenue, $1.29tn in 2010
  • Congress has voted to raise the US debt limit 10 times since 2001
Source: US Treasury, May 2011, Congressional Research Service, Congressional Budget Office
In weekend television interviews. Mr Geithner said that a Republican proposal to first raise the debt limit, and then negotiate spending cuts, was "irresponsible" and would not be agreed by Democrats.
The failure to reach a deal has led to concerns amongst investors that the US may not be able to cut its deficit over time.
"I think it's the concerns about whether there is the political will to actually deal with these issues," said Randall Kroszner a former governor of the US Federal Reserve and a professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
'Reckless games' The sticking point is the issue of taxation.
President Obama wants the debt reduction deal to include a combination of spending cuts and tax rises, but Republicans in both houses of Congress are strongly opposed to the latter.
Mr Obama was joined at the negotiating table on Saturday by his Vice-President Joe Biden, Republican House Speaker John Boehner, Democratic House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
Following the meeting, the White House urged Congress to "refrain from playing reckless political games with our economy... and do its job, avoiding default and cutting the deficit".
Both Mr McConnell and Mr Boehner issued statements saying they intended "to find a bipartisan solution to significantly reduce Washington spending and preserve the full faith and credit of the United States".
Aides said they expected to work through the weekend to come up with a bill that would be acceptable to both sides for Monday.
On Friday, Mr Boehner accused the president of moving "the goal posts", saying they had been close to a deal until Mr Obama demanded $400bn in tax increases on top of about $800bn in revenues that would have been reaped through a comprehensive rewrite of the tax code.
Mr Obama had declared his deal "extraordinarily fair", offering to cut $650bn from Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements, as well as slashing $1tn in discretionary spending.
While Republicans in Congress are unwilling to consider raising new taxes, their Democrat counterparts are opposed to cutting popular healthcare and welfare programmes for pensioners and the poor.
debt graphic