News / USA

Amid Government Shutdown, US Lawmakers Point Fingers

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (L),  House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Speaker of the House John Boehner, during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Oct. 1, 2013.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (L), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Speaker of the House John Boehner, during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Oct. 1, 2013.
Michael Bowman
— As a partial U.S. government shutdown nears a second day, the legislative breakdown that produced it shows no signs of repair. Members of Congress pointed fingers at one another Tuesday, and jockeyed to avoid blame for the suspension of federal operations.

Political brinksmanship ruled the day in Congress.  With lawmakers bracing for a popular backlash against the halt in government services, Republicans proposed piecemeal funding to reopen some of the nation’s most-popular federal entities.  Senator Ted Cruz urged emergency funds for national parks and the agency serving America’s veterans.

“We should reopen the national parks today.  We should fund the VA [Veterans Administration] today.  The only reason it might not happen is if Harry Reid and Democrats object.  I hope they do not," said Cruz.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejected the Republican idea as “wacky.”  Fellow Democratic Senator Richard Durbin called it an outrage.

“Senator Cruz is going to pick and choose those departments of government that he wants to open.  To think that this senator has the nerve to try to decide what is really, really important for America," said Durbin.

By the end of the day, the piecemeal funding initiative had faltered.  But the episode forced Democrats into the uncomfortable position of opposing a limited reopening of the federal government, and aided Republican efforts to portray themselves as reasonable compromisers - and Democrats as hardline intransigents.

Those efforts began earlier in the day, when the Republican-led House voted to begin negotiations with the Senate on ending the government shutdown.  Republican Congressman Tom McClintock said that is how Congress is supposed to work.

“After the House and Senate have exercised their best judgment, they are then supposed to sit down and negotiate out their differences," said  McClintock.

Those differences center on President Barack Obama’s health care law, a major portion of which went into effect Tuesday.  Republicans have sought to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act, and many House Republicans refuse to vote to fund the government absent provisions eroding the law, also known as Obamacare.

Senate Democrats said they would welcome bicameral conferences, but not during a government shutdown.  Majority Leader Harry Reid:

“We [Senate Democrats] are happy to go to conference.  But only if the government is reopened," said Reid.

Reid called on the House to pass a funding bill free of political stipulations.  House Speaker John Boehner had this response:

“My goodness, they [Democrats] will not even sit down and have a discussion about this," said Boehner.

Democrats accuse Republicans of holding government funding hostage to their political agenda and say they will not reward that behavior.

Initial polling shows the American people more apt to blame Republicans than Democrats or President Obama for the government shutdown.  Republicans want to change the perception of culpability. Democrats are banking on it continuing and forcing a resolution of the impasse on their terms.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid