News / USA

    Analysts: More Battles to Come Over Spending in Washington

    Analysts: Spending Battle to Continuei
    X
    January 03, 2013 12:20 AM
    Official Washington and many Americans are breathing a collective sigh of relief after congressional action on a compromise plan to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff of tax hikes and budget cuts that could have plunged the U.S. back into recession. But as VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports, more battles between the White House and Congress over spending and taxes are expected.
    Analysts: Spending Battle to Continue
    Official Washington and many Americans around the country are voicing relief after congressional action on a compromise partial plan to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff of tax increases and budget cuts that could have plunged the U.S. economy into recession.  But more battles between the White House and Congress over spending and taxes are expected in a matter of weeks.

    After months of political debate, President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans were finally able to craft a narrow agreement to avoid tax increases for all Americans.

    But the agreement does little to end the continuing battle over federal government spending, which Republicans remain determined to cut during the months ahead despite losses in last November’s general elections.

    The next major clash could come as early as next month, when congressional action will be needed to raise the debt limit so that the government can continue to borrow enough money to pay its bills.

    U.S. FISCAL DEAL FACTS

    • Raises $600 billion over 10 years through higher taxes on wealthier Americans
    • Delays by two months billions of dollars in mandatory defense and domestic spending cuts
    • Extends farm bill provisions to prevent a spike in milk prices
    • Blocks cuts to payments for doctors who treat elderly Americans
    • Extends unemployment benefits to 2 million people for one year
    • Cancels a $900 cost-of-living raise for members of Congress
    • Extends child tax credits, and those for college tuition and renewable energy
    President Obama is already warning Republicans that any attempt to block raising the debt ceiling to demand cuts in government spending could harm the nation's fragile economic recovery.

    “While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed,” he said.

    But Republicans like Representative Spencer Bachus of Alabama are unhappy that the latest compromise in Congress only prevented a tax increase and did little to cut government spending.

    “There’s no spending cuts.  We’re adding $4 billion a day to the debt,” said Bachus.

    The battle over spending cuts is also expected to resurface in two months, when Congress will have to take action to avoid mandatory cuts in defense and domestic spending.

    Analysts say both Democrats and Republicans will need to show more willingness to compromise to avoid a deadlock.

    Ken Duberstein, who served as White House Chief of Staff under Republican President Ronald Reagan, says that Republicans will have to accept the idea they will be dealing with President Obama for another four years.  But he adds that the president has a responsibility to reach out to Republican lawmakers if the two sides are to get much done during Obama's second term.

    “So second-term presidents can learn that you can’t get it all your own way, you have to reach out.  You have to build.  You have to give a little bit more,” he said.

    Even though Obama won reelection in November, many Republicans still see themselves on equal footing with the Democratic president because they kept their majority in the House of Representatives.

    “In the old days, elections mattered more than they do now in the sense that a president who was reelected clearly had a mandate to do something, assuming his margin [of victory] was decent," said Larry Sabato, who directs the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. "Well, Obama won [the popular vote] by nearly four percentage points.  Decades ago that would have been enough to certainly get his top priority through Congress.  It doesn’t work that way anymore.”

    Congress is also expected to tackle difficult partisan issues like gun control and immigration reform this year - two areas where the president has said he would like to see action during his second term.

    But Republican analyst Scot Faulkner, who worked for Republicans in the House of Representatives during the 1990s and for the Reagan administration, says the fractious debate over taxes and spending could negatively affect other issues.

    “Until people get off the campaign treadmill and think again about governing first and then standing on a record of governing instead of a record of rhetoric, we are going to keep on this treadmill,” said Faulkner.

    Although Democrats hold more seats in the new Congress, the split remains between Democrats who hold a majority in the Senate and Republicans who control the House.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora