Obama and Cameron stress fiscal responsibility and growth
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday stressed fiscal responsibility alongside growth and Obama said he was "squarely committed" to tackling the record U.S. deficit.
In a joint White House press conference, Obama also praised the work of a bipartisan commission he appointed to come up with solutions to the U.S. fiscal challenge and vowed to pursue its recommendations, which are due at the end of the year.
"We reaffirmed our commitment to fiscal responsibility and reform. David's government is making some courageous decisions and I've set a goal of cutting our deficit in half by 2013," Obama said.
The president acknowledged the United States was taking a different route than Britain, where Cameron has opted for austerity measures to curb national debt, but glossed over this strategic divide in his remarks.
"The goal here is the same, and we're all moving in the same direction. But there's going to be differentiation based on the different circumstances of different countries in terms of how they approach it tactically and at what pace," Obama said.
Cameron stressed the same point.
"Our destination is a strong and stable growth, a sustained economic recovery,' he said.
Some worry Britain and other large European economies like Germany over-reacted to a sovereign debt crisis sparked by Greece and are withdrawing fiscal stimulus too soon, condemning the region to a weaker recovery than needed.
The International Monetary Fund warned earlier this month that Europe would be a growth laggard this year and forecast British economic expansion of just 1.2 percent compared with 3.3 percent in the United States in 2010.
But Obama also faces election-year pressure to be sparing with taxpayer money. He has set up a bipartisan fiscal commission to suggest how to tackle the U.S. deficit and rising debt, once job creation has picked up.
"I think that as we continue to see economic growth, as we continue to see the economy heal from last year, that the American people are going to want to approach this problem in a serious, realistic way," he said.
The 18-member panel is expected to recommend a mixture of tax increases and government spending cuts when it delivers its report by the end of the year, after the November 2 midterm congressional election where the deficit may weigh on voters.
Obama said the panel was working in a healthy bipartisan way, and provided the "politics of deficits and debt" did not intrude, it was on track to deliver something he could act on.
"I think it's going to be a good report, but is still going to require some tough choices, and we're committing to pursuing those tough choices after we get that report," he said.
(Editing by Vicki Allen)
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