News

    US Senate Republicans and Democrats Outline Competing Agendas

    Senate Republicans and Democrats have outlined their respective
    legislative agendas for the new congressional year. Their priorities
    are very different.

    Republicans and Democrats in the Senate say they would like to work in a
    bipartisan fashion to solve the country's problems, but they cannot even
    agree on what the most important issues are.

    The Republican majority believes the most important domestic issue is
    reforming the social security retirement system to keep it solvent for
    future generations.

    Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania is a leader in the reform effort.
    "I do not think the American public will ultimately stand for a
    do-nothing response to social security. I think everyone realizes we
    are all living longer, everybody understands the baby boomers are
    retiring, everybody understands there are fewer workers to pay for
    retiree benefits, and we also understand that if we do not do anything,
    either benefits will be cuts or taxes will be raised," he said.

    But Democrats argue that there is no crisis in social security, that the
    program will remain solvent for at least three or four decades.

    They say reforming the nation's health care system should be Congress'
    legislative priority. Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said
    "in the four years since President Bush started his first term, the
    number of uninsured Americans has increased from 40 million to 45
    million. The cost of health care has sky-rocketed, and this
    administration has done absolutely nothing to address it."

    Republicans agree reforming the health care system is important, but
    they say other issues deserve priority, including making permanent
    President Bush's tax cuts, moving the nation toward energy independence,
    and the war on terrorism.

    Democrats agree the war on terrorism is important, but they also
    emphasize education, employment, and support for U.S. troops.

    Democrats argue that Republicans are shortchanging benefits for troops
    returning from difficult missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they want
    to change that.

    Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said "with one out of six,
    it is estimated, soldiers who come home, who have some kind of mental or
    psychological problem, that is natural, given what they have been
    through, we are proposing that mental services be added to veterans'
    benefits, and we are making sure that those who come home get adequate
    health care and their families do as well."

    Republicans insist they are not ignoring the needs of U.S. troops and
    their families. On Monday, they introduced legislation that would
    increase the one-time tax-free benefit paid to the families of members
    of the military killed in the line of duty from $12,400 to $100,000.

    Although Democrats have pledged to oppose Republican initiatives when
    they run counter to their priorities, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist
    issued an appeal to the minority party for bipartisanship. "Will they
    fight us tooth and nail on all of our priorities? It is certainly
    within their right to do so, but I hope we will continue to reflect our
    desire, our willingness to work together," he said.

    Democrats and Republicans did come together Monday to approve President
    Bush's nominee to become Commerce Secretary. The Senate confirmed by
    voice vote Kellogg chief executive Carlos Gutierrez.

    Mr. Gutierrez, who fled Cuba with his family when he was a child,
    becomes the first Hispanic-American to head the department.

    The Senate Tuesday turns its attention to President Bush's nominee to be
    Secretary of State. Senators will hold a day-long debate on the
    nomination of Condoleezza Rice for the post, with Democrats expected to
    use the occasion to criticize Bush administration policy on Iraq. Ms.
    Rice, who served as National Security Adviser to President Bush in his
    first term, is expected to be confirmed in a vote scheduled Wednesday.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora