Fiscal Cliff: Obama Is Increasing the Pressure

In an interview with NBC, Obama blamed Republican intransigence for the crisis surrounding the U.S. debt ceiling, a “fiscal cliff” on which Congress must act before Jan. 1.

It is just over two days before the expiry of the “fiscal cliff” in the U.S., yet Americans are not very concerned about this issue of domestic policy, recurrent since the majority of the House of Representatives rose in opposition in 2010. Indeed, citizens are more interested in Sunday’s game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys.

It is in this context that Barack Obama tried to pressure U.S. lawmakers, who must come to an agreement by Jan. 1 in order to avoid automatic tax increases and government spending cuts effective on this date. In an interview with NBC on Sunday, the president affirmed that his political opponents, who control part of Congress, could not accept the idea that “taxes on the wealthiest Americans should go up a little bit.”

Discordant Remarks

Since his re-election in the beginning of November, Barack Obama has been negotiating with Republicans in order to ensure that the U.S. debt ceiling is not exceeded. He lamented in the interview recorded on Sunday that the protection of the incomes of the wealthiest taxpayers “seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme.”

However, Republican leaders and Senate Democrats were still trying to deliver a last-minute compromise that was acceptable to this assembly at the hands of both Democrats and the Republican-dominated House of Representatives. However, the words of Barack Obama could further inflame these negotiations rather than facilitate them. “While the President was taping those discordant remarks yesterday, Senator McConnell was in the office working to bring Republicans and Democrats together on a solution,” noted Don Stewart, spokesman for the Republican minority leader.

The Senate and the House both held rare special sessions on Sunday. If their efforts were unsuccessful, the automatic austerity measures might eventually put the world’s largest economy into a recession, economists warned, while the markets have shown signs of nervousness these past few days. They have only 24 hours to find a solution that would avoid a prolonged crisis.

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