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By Robert N. Tracci
Congress must use its appropriations power to secure the border
Topic - Lucas Papademos
Warning of a "catastrophe" that would leave Greeks subsisting on food stamps and the country wallowing in bankruptcy, Greek leaders urged lawmakers Saturday to pass more painful spending cuts on the eve of a crucial vote to qualify for a massive bailout.
Greece's future in the eurozone grew increasingly precarious Friday as violence erupted on the streets of Athens and dissent grew among its lawmakers after European leaders demanded deeper spending cuts.
Greek coalition leaders are preparing their responses to a draft deal on steep cutbacks demanded by creditors in return for a 130-billion-euro ($170 billion) bailout that will shield the country from a looming bankruptcy.
Greece predicted Friday that its budget deficit will fall sharply next year, helped by a bond writedown, and insisted that no fresh austerity measures will be needed to plug a hole in this year's finances.
New Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said Monday he is determined to keep the country in the eurozone, but acknowledged it is set to miss its deficit reduction target this year.
Greece's new interim Cabinet was sworn in Friday, with former European Central Bank Vice President Lucas Papademos at its helm as prime minister and the key position of finance minister unchanged.
"The deal will ensure our country's future inside the euro. ... A bankruptcy would lead to uncontrollable economic chaos and social explosion," Papademos said.
He added that a bankruptcy would lead to Greeks losing their savings; the state being unable to pay salaries and pensions; and shortages in import items such as medicines, fuel and machinery.