WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Monday held out little hope Congress would take any dramatic action before the November election.
Obama told reporters at the White House in the two weeks Congress will be back in Washington before hitting the campaign train in earnest, it must pass a continuing resolution to fund the government to prevent any disruptions. Aside from that, however, Obama said he "can't guarantee ... a flurry of action."
Obama said he would love to see some action on a plan to help Americans who are underwater with their mortgages.
"We're going to be pushing Congress to see if they can pass a refinancing bill that puts $3,000 into the pockets of the average family who hasn't yet refinanced their mortgage," Obama said. "That's a big deal. That $3,000 can be used to strengthen the equity in that person's home, which would raise home values. Alternatively, that's $3,000 in people's pockets that they can spend on a new computer for their kid going back to school, or new school clothes for their kids, and so that would strengthen the economy as well."
Obama said "the biggest thing" Congress could do would be to come up with a deficit reduction plan.
"I continue to be open to seeing Congress approach this with a balanced plan that has tough spending cuts, building on the trillion dollars' worth of spending cuts that we've already made, but also asks for additional revenue from folks like me, from folks in the top 1 or 2 percent, to make sure that folks who can least afford it aren't suddenly bearing the burden, and we're providing some additional certainty to small businesses and families going forward.," Obama said.
"Alternatively, they could go ahead and vote for a bill that we've said would definitely strengthen the economy, and that is giving everybody who's making $250,000 a year or less certainty that their taxes aren't going to go [up] next year. That would make a big difference.
"Now, obviously the Republicans have voted that down already once. It's not likely, realistically, that they're going to bring it back up again before Election Day. But my hope is after the election, people will step back and recognize that that's a sensible way to bring down our deficit and allow us to still invest in things like education that are going to help the economy grow."