US & Canada

Republicans press Obama for plan on spending cuts

John Boehner along with House Republicans speaking outside the White House
Image caption House Republicans met Mr Obama at the White House

Republican lawmakers have pressed President Barack Obama for a detailed plan on budget cuts as he seeks their backing on raising the US debt ceiling.

Mr Obama met House Republicans at the White House in his latest bid to end a standoff his administration warns could upset financial markets.

The US treasury department has warned the US risks default if Congress does not authorise more borrowing by August.

With the deficit set to hit $1.4tr this year, Republicans want spending cuts.

Leaders of both parties agree to the need to trim the budget, but Republicans have refused to allow tax increases, while Democrats have vowed to protect costly social programmes.

The US national debt is $14.3 trillion (£8.7 trillion), and the annual budget deficit is roughly $1.4 trillion.

The White House argues the United States would face "catastrophic" consequences if Congress does not raise the cap on total US government borrowing by 2 August.

'Not what Americans want'

"If we're going to raise the debt limit, the spending cuts should exceed the increase in the debt limit, otherwise it will serve to cost us jobs in our country," House Speaker John Boehner told reporters outside the White House, following the meeting.

"It's not what the American people want," he added.

President Obama warned the meeting there could be dire consequences to failing to increase the US debt ceiling, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

"The president made clear that he believes there is no margin here for in any way casting doubt on the possibility that the debt ceiling would be raised, that the effect of even suggesting that it won't happen could be highly negative and could have dire consequences for our economy and the global economy," Mr Carney said.

The meeting with Republicans from the US House of Representatives came a day after House Republicans rejected their own bill to raise the US debt limit by $2.4tr.

Analysts said the vote was a symbolic attempt to demonstrate that a bill to increase the borrowing cap with no spending cuts attached would not be passed.

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