Obama touts possible bipartisan pact on debt limit

Washington, July 20 (IANS/EFE) President Barack Obama spoke Tuesday of a possible bipartisan accord that includes both spending cuts and tax increases and allows the US debt limit to be raised before an Aug 2 deadline.

Obama described as "a very significant step" the latest proposal by the "Gang of Six", a bipartisan group of senators, saying that their framework "is broadly consistent with what we've been working on here in the White House".

"We have a Democratic president and administration that is prepared to sign a tough package that includes both spending cuts, modifications to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare that would strengthen those systems and allow them to move forward, and would include a revenue component," he told a White House press conference.

"We now have a bipartisan group of senators who agree with that balanced approach," Obama said.

The plan presented Tuesday by the Gang of Six foresees a $3.7 trillion deficit reduction over the next decade through significant cuts in public spending and tax reform.

Obama said he hopes that in the next two days a bill will be finalised embodying that plan so it can be presented to Congress.

The Gang of Six announcement coincides with a vote planned for Tuesday in the House of Representatives on a radical proposal that calls for slashing expenditures, limiting government spending to a fixed proportion of GDP and amending the Constitution to require a balanced budget.

The initiative has virtually no chance of passing the Senate and Obama says he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

The debt crisis, which threatens to leave the country in default of its debt payments Aug 2 if raising the debt ceiling of $14.29 trillion is not agreed upon, has pitted Republicans against Democrats about the measures needed to reduce the deficit.

Though both sides agree that they will not allow the country to default, up to now they have been incapable of finding any points of agreement, particularly in the battle over taxes.

Republicans have opposed any plan that includes raising taxes, something Democrats consider fundamental for balancing the budget.




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Title: Obama touts possible bipartisan pact on debt limit

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