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米債務上限問題 不毛な対立の棚上げは前進だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 16, 2014
U.S. Congress takes step forward by shelving showdown over borrowing
米債務上限問題 不毛な対立の棚上げは前進だ(2月16日付・読売社説)

With the turmoil in the U.S. Congress over government finances having been settled at last, the danger of President Barack Obama’s administration plunging into a debt default—the inability to service government bonds—has been averted, at least for the time being.
 米国財政を巡る議会の対立が収束し、政府が国債の元利払いができない債務不履行(デフォルト)に陥る事態は当面回避されることになった。

The ruling Democratic Party and the opposition Republican Party have repeatedly clashed over the debt cap issue, and the resolution for now of the thorny problem that has shackled the U.S. political system can be called a step forward. We welcome the congressional agreement.
 与党・民主党と野党・共和党は混乱を繰り返してきたが、足かせとなってきた難題をひとまず棚上げできたのは前進である。合意の成立を歓迎したい。

The House of Representatives approved by a majority vote last Tuesday and the Senate approved by a majority vote Wednesday an increase in the federal debt limit, with no conditions attached, on the statutory ceiling on government borrowing through March 15, 2015. The ceiling is currently set at about $17.2 trillion.
 議会上下両院は、政府が借金できる限度額を示す法定の債務上限(約17・2兆ドル)について、来年3月15日まで無条件で引き上げる法律を賛成多数で可決した。

Congressional approval was made possible by major concessions from the Republican Party at the initiative of senior Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, that were in line with the assertions of Obama and his Democratic Party.
 オバマ大統領と民主党の主張に沿って、共和党が、ベイナー下院議長ら幹部の主導で大幅譲歩したのがポイントである。

In October last year, a Democrat-Republican standoff prevented the enactment of the federal budget for fiscal 2014, leading to a partial shutdown of government organizations. Government liabilities subsequently reached the maximum allowed, threatening to cause the United States to default on its debts. Republicans came under particularly heavy fire from the public for continuing to take a hard-line attitude.
 昨年10月、民主、共和両党の対立で2014会計年度予算が成立せず、政府機関の一部閉鎖に追い込まれた。連邦債務も上限に達し、デフォルト寸前に陥った。特に厳しい批判を浴びたのが、強硬姿勢を続けた共和党だった。

The ruling and opposition parties later agreed to temporarily nullify the debt ceiling up until Feb. 7 this year, but they failed to reach an accord to raise the ceiling in time for the deadline.
 与野党はその後、今年2月7日までは債務上限を一時無効とすることで合意したが、期限内に引き上げられなかった。

The congressional impasse came against Republican conservatives’ insistence that any increase in the debt ceiling should be met by spending cuts equivalent to the rise in the limit.
 その背景には、共和党の保守派を中心に、債務上限を引き上げる場合には、それに見合う歳出削減を求めるべきだという強硬論が出ていたことがある。

Republicans under fire

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned that the government, even if making the best of budgetary handling, would default on its debts as early as toward the end of February. It seems that renewed turmoil over the debt ceiling would likely intensify public criticism against Republicans.
 ルー財務長官は財政のやり繰りでしのぐとしても、2月末にもデフォルトに陥ると警告していた。混乱が再燃すれば、共和党に対する国民の批判が一層高まるのは避けられなかったのでないか。

Midterm elections will take place in November. Taking public opinion into account, the Republican Party may have found it advisable to lay down its arms at this stage.
 11月には議会中間選挙がある。共和党は世論を意識し、この段階では矛を収めるのが得策と考えたのだろう。

Toward the end of last year, the ruling and opposition parties agreed to set the budget for policy implementation at $1 trillion each in the coming two fiscal years, thus averting the risk of another government shutdown due to failure to pass budget legislation.
 与野党は昨年末、2年間の予算の政策経費をそれぞれ1兆ドルとすることで一致し、予算不成立に伴って政府機関が再び閉鎖されるリスクも回避した。

The settlement of these two issues, which should help stabilize stock and other financial markets, should serve as a tailwind for the U.S. economy, for which signs of recovery have been becoming brighter.
 二つの懸案の決着によって株式市場などの不安要因が解消できたことは、景気回復が鮮明になってきた米国経済にも追い風だ。

Arguments of the ruling and opposition parties, however, have remained wide apart over how the government should steer its fiscal policy. There are said to be people in the Republican Party who still criticize Boehner for being “weak-kneed” toward Democrats.
 ただし、財政政策を巡る与野党の主張は大きく食い違う。共和党内では、ベイナー議長に「弱腰」と反発する声もくすぶる。

As a result, partisan confrontation may intensify all the more toward the midterm elections and the 2016 presidential election.
 このため、中間選挙や16年の大統領選に向け、むしろ党派対立が一段と激化する可能性がある。

Conservatives in the Republican Party, holding up the goal of “small government,” have remained steadfastly opposed to Obama’s health care programs for the elderly and poor.
 「小さな政府」を掲げる共和党保守派では、大統領が推進する医療保険改革(オバマケア)への抵抗が根強い。

We hope to see Democrats and Republicans constructively engaging in policy discussions over a wide range of issues, including measures to the benefit of middle-income families and steps for rectifying economic disparities in the United States.
中間所得層向け施策や経済格差是正策なども含め、建設的な政策論争を期待したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 16, 2014)
(2014年2月16日00時04分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2014-02-20 07:33 | 英字新聞

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