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Posts tagged ‘International Monetary Fund’

US, France Warn Russia of ‘New Measures’ Over Ukraine.

President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande warned Saturday of “new measures” against Russia if it fails to work toward defusing the crisis in Ukraine, the French presidency said.

In a phone call on Saturday, Obama and Hollande insisted on the “need for Russia to withdraw forces sent to Crimea since the end of February and to do everything to allow the deployment of international observers,” it said.
Obama’s conversation with Hollande was one of a half dozen telephone conversations he had with world leaders Saturday about Ukraine, the White House says.

He  also spoke with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and held a conference call with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

The new warnings come in the wake of Russia’s insistence that any U.S. sanctions will have a boomerang effect on the United States and that Crimea has the right to self-determination as armed men tried to seize another Ukrainian military base on the peninsula.

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In a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned against “hasty and reckless steps” that could harm Russian-American relations, the foreign ministry said on Friday.

“Sanctions…would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang,” it added.

It was the second tense, high-level exchange between the former Cold War foes in 24 hours over the pro-Russian takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said after an hour-long call with U.S. President Barack Obama that their positions on the former Soviet republic were still far apart. Obama announced the first sanctions against Russia on Thursday.

Putin, who later opened the Paralympic Games in Sochi which have been boycotted by a string of Western dignitaries, said Ukraine’s new, pro-Western authorities had acted illegitimately over the eastern, southeastern and Crimea regions.

“Russia cannot ignore calls for help and it acts accordingly, in full compliance with international law,” he said.

Serhiy Astakhov, an aide to the Ukrainian border guards’ commander, said 30,000 Russian soldiers were now in Crimea, compared to the 11,000 permanently based with the Russian Black Sea fleet in the port of Sevastopol before the crisis.

On Friday evening armed men drove a truck into a Ukrainian missile defence post in Sevastopol, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene. But no shots were fired and Crimea’s pro-Russian premier said later the standoff was over.

Putin denies the forces with no national insignia that are surrounding Ukrainian troops in their bases are under Moscow’s command, although their vehicles have Russian military plates. The West has ridiculed his assertion.

The most serious East-West confrontation since the end of the Cold War – resulting from the overthrow last month of President Viktor Yanukovich after protests in Kiev that led to violence – escalated on Thursday when Crimea’s parliament, dominated by ethnic Russians, voted to join Russia.

The region’s government set a referendum for March 16 – in just nine days’ time.


Turkey scrambled jets after a Russian surveillance plane flew along its Black Sea coast and a U.S. warship passed through Turkey’s Bosphorus straits on its way to the Black Sea, although the U.S. military said it was a routine deployment.

European Union leaders and Obama said the referendum plan was illegitimate and would violate Ukraine’s constitution.

The head of Russia’s upper house of parliament said after meeting visiting Crimean lawmakers on Friday that Crimea had a right to self-determination, and ruled out any risk of war between “the two brotherly nations”.

Obama ordered visa bans and asset freezes on Thursday against so far unidentified people deemed responsible for threatening European Union leaders Ukraine’s sovereignty. Earlier in the week, a Kremlin aide said Moscow might refuse to pay off any loans to U.S. banks, the top four of which have around $24 billion in exposure to Russia.

Japan endorsed the Western position that the actions of Russia constitute “a threat to international peace and security”, after Obama spoke to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

China, often a Russian ally in blocking Western moves in the U.N. Security Council, was more cautious, saying economic sanctions were not the best way to solve the crisis and avoiding comment on the Crimean referendum.

The EU, Russia’s biggest economic partner and energy customer, adopted a three-stage plan to try to force a negotiated solution but stopped short of immediate sanctions.

The Russian Foreign Ministry responded angrily on Friday, calling the EU decision to freeze talks on visa-free travel and on a broad new pact governing Russia-EU ties “extremely unconstructive”. It pledged to retaliate.


Senior Ukrainian opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko, freed from prison after Yanukovich’s overthrow, met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Dublin and appealed for immediate EU sanctions against Russia, warning that Crimea might otherwise slide into a guerrilla war.

Brussels and Washington rushed to strengthen the new authorities in economically shattered Ukraine, announcing both political and financial assistance. The regional director of the International Monetary Fund said talks with Kiev on a loan agreement were going well and praised the new government’s openness to economic reform and transparency.

The European Commission has said Ukraine could receive up to 11 billion euros ($15 billion) in the next couple of years provided it reaches agreement with the IMF, which requires painful economic reforms like ending gas subsidies.

Promises of billions of dollars in Western aid for the Kiev government, and the perception that Russian troops are not likely to go beyond Crimea into other parts of Ukraine, have helped reverse a rout in the local hryvnia currency.

In the past two days it has traded above 9.0 to the dollar for the first time since the Crimea crisis began last week. Local dealers said emergency currency restrictions imposed last week were also supporting the hryvnia.

Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said Ukraine had not paid its $440 million gas bill for February, bringing its arrears to $1.89 billion and hinted it could turn off the taps as it did in 2009, when a halt in Russian deliveries to Ukraine reduced supplies to Europe during a cold snap.

In Moscow, a huge crowd gathered near the Kremlin at a government-sanctioned rally and concert billed as being “in support of the Crimean people”. Pop stars took to the stage and demonstrators held signs with slogans such as “Crimea is Russian land”, and “We believe in Putin”.


Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said no one in the civilised world would recognise the result of the “so-called referendum” in Crimea.

He repeated Kiev’s willingness to negotiate with Russia if Moscow pulls its additional troops out of Crimea and said he had requested a telephone call with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

But Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov ridiculed calls for Russia to join an international “contact group” with Ukraine proposed by the West, saying they “make us smile”.

Demonstrators encamped in Kiev’s central Independence Square to defend the revolution that ousted Yanukovich said they did not believe Crimea would be allowed to secede.

Alexander Zaporozhets, 40, from central Ukraine’s Kirovograd region, put his faith in international pressure.

“I don’t think the Russians will be allowed to take Crimea from us: you can’t behave like that to an independent state. We have the support of the whole world. But I think we are losing time. While the Russians are preparing, we are just talking.”

Unarmed military observers from the pan-European Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe were blocked from entering Crimea for a second day in a row on Friday, the OSCE said on Twitter.

The United Nations said it had sent its assistant secretary-general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic, to Kiev to conduct a preliminary humans rights assessment.

Ukrainian television has been replaced with Russian state channels in Crimea and the streets largely belong to people who support Moscow’s rule, some of whom have harassed journalists and occasional pro-Kiev protesters.

Part of the Crimea’s 2 million population opposes Moscow’s rule, including members of the region’s ethnic Russian majority. The last time Crimeans were asked, in 1991, they voted narrowly for independence along with the rest of Ukraine.

“With all these soldiers here, it is like we are living in a zoo,” Tatyana, 41, an ethnic Russian. “Everyone fully understands this is an occupation.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Newsmax Wires

US Pledges $1 Billion in Aid to Ukraine.

The Obama administration has pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine as Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the strife-torn country, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The financial assistance was seen as an attempt by the United States to show solidarity with Ukraine, which has had its Crimea region invaded by Russian forces following the overthrow last month of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said, “The United States is prepared to work with its bilateral and multilateral partners to provide as much support as Ukraine needs to restore financial stability and return to economic growth if the new government implements the necessary reforms.”

The money was expected to shore up the country’s troubled economy and to help Ukraine finance purchases of energy imports while the former Soviet republic seeks a larger bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

A senior administration official with Kerry told the Journal, “You’re seeing already a response from the United States that is isolating Russia politically and diplomatically and offering strong support for the new Ukrainian government.”

American technical experts will be sent to Ukraine to help sort out the country’s growing financial and energy problems, sources said. U.S. advisers will also help Kiev uncover assets believed to have been stolen by Yanukovych’s government.

The Journal also reported that experts will also be sent to help Ukraine prepare for its May 25 general elections.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Drew MacKenzie

Minister for Defence, Mr Maku, said the military would wipe out the Boko Haram terrorists in 30 minutes, if the terrorists would agree to line up in an area to face the troops.

labaran maku

SUPERVISING Minister for Defence, Mr Labaran Maku, in Abuja, on Tuesday, said the military would wipe out the insurgents perpetrating acts of terror in the country in 30 minutes, if the terrorists would agree to line up in an area to face the troops.

He said what made the battle against terrorism in the country a bit complex was the fact that the insurgents hid among the citizens to strike and had refused to be identified.

Maku, who doubles as Minister of Information, spoke in Abuja, while presenting the scorecard for 2013, adding that the violence in the North East was as a result of violent politics allegedly played by certain unnamed politicians.

He maintained that politicians stopped the Federal Government from deploying troops to the troubled region for years, noting that even when the

troops were eventually deployed, critics pushed for them to be withdrawn.

Insisting that all insecurity in the country was created out of local politics, Maku commended the military for pushing the insurgents close to the borders, noting that much success would have been recorded if the military were fighting external army.

He noted that insurgencies in the North east were currently localised, adding that “they can still occur anywhere, because this is terrorism.”

Speaking on corruption, Maku noted that a lot of allegations bordering on corruption were mere political talk and way of getting newspaper headlines by politicians.

He, however, said rate of corruption was high in the country because the economy revolved round the government, adding that government-induced economy would always induce corruption, a reason “we must hand over some things to private sector.”

According to him, “about N13 billion worth of counterfeited financial instruments were intercepted by NIPOST, as against N9.27 billion in previous years, while about N1.5 billion has been released by the Federal Government for the payment of pension arrears to 5,206 NIPOST retirees.

“Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the fastest growing in the world. GDP growth rate in 2013 was put at 7.2 per cent by International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The Federal Government maintained stable exchange rate. The dollar exchange has remained stable in the last two years, between N155 and N160.

“Inflation rate is declining and has been in single digits all year. Current inflation rate is eight per cent in September, down from nine per cent recorded in January 2013.

“As per rising external reserves, as of May 2013, Nigeria’s foreign reserve was $48.4 billion, up from $32.08 billion in May 2011.

“Excess Crude Account (ECA) rose from $4 billion in 2011 to $9 billion at the end of 2012. The ECA is now helping the country to cushion the effects of current low earnings from oil.

“National debt burden is low. Nigeria’s debt to GDP is 21 per cent, compared to South Africa, 42.7 per cent; United States, 106 per cent; United Kingdom, 90 per cent and Japan, 225 per cent.”

He said the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration had put in place financial management systems to check leakages, improve efficiency and check corruption.

Battle far from over –NLC
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in its New Year message released on Tuesday, said the recent successful attacks on military posts and installations by Boko Haram insurgents showed that the battle was far from over.

The congress called on all Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliation, to rally behind the government and the security forces in the fight to restore security to our country.

In a statement entitled: “New Year Message To Nigerian Workers,” signed by its president, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar and the acting general secretary, Chris Uyot, the congress said insecurity remained a major national challenge during the year 2013.

“The Boko Haram insurgency continues to pose serious threat. The declaration of state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states yielded initial successes and ushered in relative calm in the polity for which government received commendation from the citizenry.

“The same cannot be said of the situation at the moment, as the Boko Haram insurgents seem to have regrouped, slipped behind military and security forces to unleash mayhem on civilian populations, especially students who have been mass-murdered in hundreds.

“Recent successful attacks on military posts and installations show that the battle is far from over. We call on all Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliation, to rally behind the government and the security forces in the fight to restore security to our country,” the statement read.

The congress said the ongoing constitutional review by the National Assembly, with an attempt by the Senate to distort the National Minimum Wage Act against workers’ interest, was another sour note in labour relations in 2013.

On recurrent strikes, the NLC said “there were several strikes and work stoppages during the year, particularly in the public sector… While we are glad to be associated with the process which led to the final resolution of the strike, we believe that a more proactive disposition of government to industrial disputes is needed, to ensure that the nation is not subjected to such lengthy strikes.”

Canada designates Boko Haram, Caucasus Emirate terror organisations
Canada has formally designated Boko Haram and the Caucasus Emirate as terrorist organisations, under the country’s Criminal Code.

Its Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Steven Blaney, made the announcement in a statement dated December 30 in Ottawa and posted on the ministry’s website.

“Boko Haram is an organisation that is responsible for over 300 attacks in northern Nigeria, which have resulted in the death of over 1,000 people.

“The Caucasus Emirate has carried out terrorist activities in Russia, resulting in the death and injury of many Russian civilians and security personnel,” the statement said.

It quoted Blaney as saying that listing these organisations as terrorist entities sent a strong message that such actions would not be tolerated.

The statement added that listing terrorist entities would facilitate the prosecution of perpetrators and supporters of terrorism, as well as countering terrorist financing.

According to the statement, under Canada’s criminal code, any person or group listed may have their assets seized and forfeited.

Source: Radio Biafra.

IMF warns FG against oil price shock, capital flow reversal.


The International Monetry Fund, IMF, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to implement timely policy actions to avert risk of oil price shock and reversal of foreign capital inflow looming over the country and other s in the sub-saharan Africa region.

IMF Director, African Department, Antoinette Sayeh made this call in Lagos at the presentation of the Africa Regional Economic Outlook for the region.

But Deputy Governor, Economic Policy Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mrs Sarah Alade, said that the CBN is aware of these risks and has put in place a framework to mitigate them.

In a presentation titled, “Sub-Saharan Africa: Keeping the Pace”, Sayeh identified the risks to the growth of the Nigerian economy as commodity price risk and the reversal of foreign capital inflows. She said these risks have increased not only in Nigeria but in the Sub-Saharan region significantly over the years.

“Looking forward, fiscal consolidation is expected to be strengthened in Nigeria with more moderate oil price projections. As a result, fiscal balance for 2013 and 2014 in Nigeria is projected to remain around 1.8 per cent of GDP, almost the same as in 2012.

“In Nigeria, government expenditure reached a cyclical maximum.

The risk of debt distress in many countries in our view remains low.
“Without significant policy measures, a prolonged negative oil price shock or a permanent real GDP growth shock could undermine the recent progress that had been made in achieving macroeconomic stability.

Given Nigeria’s strong position, it is important for the country to take timely policy actions to be able to avert future sustainability problems that can arise from such shocks.

“Portfolio flows have gained attraction in some countries and mostly in Nigeria. Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, in Nigeria in 2013 and 2014 are expected to remain relatively unchanged.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Open Letter to Sanusi Lamido Sanusi By Dayo Coker.

Mr Governor,

The banks are ripping me off.

When I do an online transaction with my debit cards, these banks charge me between 164 and 166 per USD.

The same banks will convert a USD remittance from a foreign country at 159 – 161.

What does this tell you about your new policy?

Why do you allow this kind of arbitrage to permeate the financial ecosystem?

Why did you not insist that all card-based FCY payments must be converted at the official rates and not the parallel market rates?

Sometimes I wonder if you and your advisers consider the consequences of some of your policy flip-flops.

RDAS to WDAS and back to RDAS.

Or is it naivete?

A form of elitism perhaps?

Everybody in your circle seems to be a blue blood, children of aristocrats reliving the lives of their progenitors.

You are fighting a system that has been destroyed by years of systemic corruption and yet you still employ the same old boys’ network of smooth operators. The Eton-educated, glib-tongued, Saville Row suited economic hit men who continue to pillage this country like their fathers before them.

Why should a discredited banker like Bolaji Balogun have so much influence in the Sanusi era?

I alighted on an old FCY bid from 1986 and guess who signed off the letter from NAL Merchant Bank.

Atedo Peterside and Dr Shamsideen Usman.

The same old folks.

Still here.

Still running the system

I am not a dollariser.

I am just a common man.

And you are letting the banks rip me off.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Relief Around the World as US Avoids Debt Default.

Image: Relief Around the World as US Avoids Debt Default

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde.

BEIJING — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) appealed Thursday to Washington for more stable management of the nation’s finances as Asian stock markets rose after U.S. leaders agreed to avoid a default and end a 16-day government shutdown.

With only hours to spare until the $16.7 trillion debt limit was reached, Congress passed late Wednesday and President Barack Obama quickly signed legislation to allow more borrowing and reopen government agencies.

“World heaves sigh of relief as U.S. barely averts debt default,” said the Times of India newspaper in a headline.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde welcomed the deal but said the shaky American economy needs more stable long-term finances. The deal only permits the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7 and fund the government through Jan. 15.

“It will be essential to reduce uncertainty surrounding the conduct of fiscal policy by raising the debt limit in a more durable manner,” Lagarde said in a statement.

The Tokyo stock market, the region’s heavyweight, gained as much as 1.1 percent. Markets in China, Hong Kong and South Korea also rebounded from losses.

China and Japan, which each own more than $1 trillion of Treasury securities, appealed earlier to Washington for a quick settlement. There was no indication whether either government had altered its debt holdings.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency had accused Washington of jeopardizing other countries’ dollar-denominated assets. It called for “building a de-Americanized world,” though analysts say global financial markets have few alternatives to the dollar and U.S. government debt for trading and holding currency reserves.

Asian companies and investors had expressed confidence the United States would avoid a default. But had sold Treasurys to avoid possible losses if Washington delayed repayment. Others put off buying stocks that might be exposed to a U.S. downturn.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


IMF’s Lagarde Predicts Massive Disruption if Debt Ceiling Isn’t Lifted.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the Congressional deadlock over the U.S. debt ceiling is threatening the U.S. and world economies and cautioned against “creative accounting” to avoid default.

“If there is that degree of disruption, that lack of certainty, that lack of trust in the U.S. signature, it would mean massive disruption the world over,” Lagarde said in an interview with NBC’sMeet the Press” about the impact of not raising the borrowing limit. “And we would be at risk of tipping, yet again, into recession.”

Lagarde said the U.S. stalemate “transformed” the discussions of global finance officials gathered in Washington this weekend at the IMF annual meetings.

Editor’s Note22 Hidden Taxes and Fees Set to Hit You With Obamacare. Read the Guide to Protect Yourself. 

Senate leaders of both parties began negotiations to avert a default even as senators blocked legislation to prevent one, and talks between the White House and House Republicans hit an impasse.

With a partial government shutdown in its 13th day and a lapse in borrowing authority four days away, the best prospects for a deal shifted from the House to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell held their first negotiating session since the shutdown began Oct. 1.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


US economic shutdown to affect Nigeria, other developing countries —Okonjo-Iweala.


The Minister for Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has expressed fears over the shutdown of the America economy, saying that it might affect Nigeria‘s bond trading in the international market.

She made the statement during a news conference on the outcome of the Commonwealth Ministers of Finance Meeting at the ongoing Annual Meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary fund in Washington DC, USA.

Her words: “The present situation in the US creates uncertainty for developing and emerging countries and that is why we look forward to a swift resolution on the issue of a debt ceiling.

“If not resolved, it could upset the market. We could see higher interest rates that will directly affect Nigeria’s bond.

“As you know, we have not only the $500 million bond we floated two years ago but also the Euro bond.

“We could see the price and the yield of these bonds affected and that is why we need to have more certainty in the market.”

Okonjo-Iweala pointed out that the major focus of the meeting was on development needs of member-states, growth issues, job creation, increasing livelihood of the people and how to address the concerns whether they occurred in small or large member-countries.

The minister said: “But specifically, to get there we focused on issues of financing the post 2015 development framework. We are all engaged globally on the post 2015 agenda and how to finance the goals that will come forward.

“We noted that sustainable development financing needs are enormous and there is need for additional resources, if the financing needs of the developing countries are to be met.”

She stressed the group’s stand on the Official Development Assistance (ODA) which she said remains vital and called on the international community to meet its existing ODA commitment in a time-bound manner.

The meeting, according to Okonjo-Iweala, agreed on the establishment of a well regulated financial system, adding that member-countries were advised to adopt domestic resource mobilisation.

The minister further noted that most developing countries had already adopted domestic resources mobilisation to finance some of their projects adding that the issues on how to close tax loopholes, tackle linkages, extend tax pays and harness illicit cash flows and turn them around to finance projects were also issues discussed at the meeting.

Source: Radio Biafra.

How to fix Nigeria: Sanusi, CBN Governor gives recipe in Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., Lecture.



Cental Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has stated that the solution to Nigeria’s development challenges is the fixing of the various broken value chains in the country’s economic activities.

He made this assertion today while delivering a lecture at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Rhode Island Avenue, Washington, D.C. USA. The event was organised by the CSIS to take advantage of the conclave of the financial community for the Annual Meetings of the Bretton Woods Institutions ? the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He declared that the value chains in agriculture, petroleum and power are the most basic and critical, which will transform the economy.


The CBN Governor noted that the challenge for Nigeria does not necessarily lie in competing with the big multinationals for cutting edge technology, but in doing the basic things that will promote job creation, economic growth and stability.

The event was moderated by Mr. Dan Runde, Director of Project on Prosperity and Development, and William A. Schreyer at the CSIS.

Photo shows CBN GOvernor Sanusi at the lecture. On his left are Dan Runde, Hon. Chukwudi Jones Onyereri and Hon. Haruna Manu of the National Assembly House Committee on Banking and Currency.

Source: Radio Biafra.

US Default Could Have ‘Terrible’ Global Consequences.

U.S. Capitol
The sun sets behind the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Oct. 6, 2013. Republican House Speaker John Boehner vowed on Sunday not to raise the U.S. debt ceiling without a “serious conversation” about what is driving the debt, while Democrats said it was irresponsible and reckless to raise the possibility of a U.S. default. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The government shutdown isn’t the only battle facing government leaders. A more critical deadline, the raising of the U.S. debt ceiling, is Oct. 17.

If the nation’s borrowing limit is not raised, the United States could default.

Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, warns the consequences could be terrible worldwide. It could strip the dollar of its status as the world’s reserve currency.

Maury Fertig, chief investment officer of Relative Value Partners, agrees, saying a default “would be so catastrophic and such a self-inflicted wound that you can’t imagine we would let it happen.”

What would happen to the economy and the markets if there is no agreement to raise the debt ceiling? Seton Motley, president of Less Government, addressed that question and more, on CBN Newswatch, Oct. 4.

“But the fact is that every day we get closer to it the possibility increases, even though it’s remote,” he said.

Speaker of the House John Boehner’s office says he would not let the government default on its debt.

But Boehner’s spokesman says if the debt limit is raised, the U.S. needs a bill with cuts and reforms to get the economy moving again.


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