President Obama Speaks on the Federal Budget Deficit

This morning President Barack Obama hosted a press conference at the White House, making a brief speech on his plans to meet challenges presented by the growing budget deficit, concerns related to the job market, and contentious domestic and foreign policy issues. Here are some highlights from the Pres. speech and the Q&A session that followed.

Obama opened with a speech on progress in budget talks, emphasizing the need for Congressional leadership to strike a bargain, “Right now Congress can help create new business, “right now” reiterated a lot, “I dont think its real radical” to ask a “corporate jet owner” to take a tax break. We need to make sacrifices to fix our deficit, salvage our economy, “nobody wants to see the United States default, We will reach a deal that will require government to live within its means.”

The president heavily criticized republicans for refusing to negotiate or compromise on positions such as tax breaks to corporations, “revenue not coming out of pockets of middle class families” “If we do not have revenues, a bunch of kids out there won’t have college scholarships, we won’t be funding critical medical research, food inspection could be compromised.” Told republicans to ask their constituents if they will compromise their kids safety so some corporate jet owner would get a tax break.

Obama then fielded question on Libya, “I want to talk about the substance of Libya,” Qaddafi, “threatening to massacre his people,” as part of an intl. coalition we went in and took out air defense systems as agreed w/Nato “we have not carried lion’s share of burden in this conflict, done exactly what I said we would do, this is limited in time and scope” “I don’t even have to get to the constitutional question,” what I did does not violate war powers act.

On gay marraige, “we cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual oreintation,” this administration has done the most in history to level the playing field…”we have made sure that it is a central principal of this administration” Pres says it is up to the people to decide on legality of issues, dodges flak, “the combination of what states are doing, what courts are doing, what this admin. is doing, how the process should work.”

Then his response on questions asking whether the deficit talk is getting in the way of helping the jobs market. Is the complaint against Boeing (NYSE:BA) indicative of the admins. regulations have cut off job growth? Pres. responds. “We need to put people to work right now, in transportation, rebuild America’s infrastructure, highways, bridges” etc., “let’s look at the tax code, simplify it,” remove capital gains taxes for startups, help small businesses get financing, We want to untangle regulations, some are important though, for health and safety, though we are currently looking through books to get rid of outdated regs., that could save companies billions in the coming years. “We can’t afford to have labor and management fighting when we’re competing with Germany, China, others, around the world.”

More on Libya, “the international criminal court identified Qaddafi as violating international law,” the Libyan army has used cruel and brutal tactics to oppress its citizens.  “I would accept him stepping down, he needs to go.”

On debt talks, “I do think its important to understand that one of the mot important things we can do for deficit reduction is to grow the economy” ideas to foster growth are worth exploring. We did this in the form of a payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance, designed to help stimulate the economy. The American people have an extra $1,000 in pockets due to our reforms. “We need to restore business confidence, the confidence of the people, that we are on the right track”

Finally, a reporter asked Obama if the admin. is using “scare tactics” by imposing deadlines to raise the debt ceiling? Pres. responds, “We’ve given out dates that are saying we are getting into trouble, what Geithner is saying is that we’re in a position now to have to do a lot of things to make sure bills are paid, by Aug. 2nd we will be out of tactics, its a hard deadline. If the U.S. defaults, consequences for the economy will be significant and unpredictable.”…”Which bills are we going to decide to pay? [if we go that route] Will we pay social security, or debts to Chinese bond-holders?” “The money has been spent, obligations have been made, this is not a situation where Congress can say we won’t buy this, take this, they already did…this is not how responsible families act…this is urgent, needs to get settled. August 2nd is a very important date, no reason why we can’t get this done now, this is not a technical problem, this is a matter of Congress making some tough decisions.” “Let’s get it done.”

“I ran for president to make sure that we righted this ship…these structural changes in our economy will not be solved overnight, but we know what to do.” “America’s got to make investments.”

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