News / USA

Away from the Capital, Americans Wary of Debt Deal

Americans Wary About Debt Deal i
X
October 18, 2013 5:29 PM
Last-minute action by the U.S. Congress has reopened all federal-government agencies and averted what could have been a financial calamity, but there are worries that the emergency legislation has only put off the bitter political dispute in Washington until the beginning of the new year. VOA's Carolyn Presutti asked people in the state of Pennsylvania what they think about the current state of affairs in the nation's capital.
Last-minute action by the U.S. Congress has reopened all federal government agencies and averted what could have been a financial calamity, but there are worries that the emergency legislation has only put off the bitter political dispute in Washington until the beginning of the new year. In the eastern state of Pennsylvania, thoughts about the current state of affairs in the nation's capital are mixed.
 
Two longtime Pennsylvania residents, Charles Kunsman and Leo Keim, together worked for Bethlehem Steel for 80 years. But in 2001, the second largest steel producer in the U.S. went bankrupt, putting thousands out of work. Company managers were blamed for the steel industry's collapse, just as politicians - the nation's managers - are being held responsible for the recent government problems.
 
“I feel like government isn't doing their job and I don't trust them,” said Keim.
 
The budget deal in Congress left a bittersweet mood in the capital, much as a local issue does in the Lehigh Valley: the conversion of the seven-kilometer-long steel plant into a music and arts center that not everyone wanted.
 
“Somewhat. Not everybody can be happy,” commented Kunsman.
 
All around the area, the impact of the government shutdown can be clearly seen.
 
Dennis Scholl works at a city park. Instead of spraying pesticide on invasive plants like Japanese knotweed or poison ivy, the city hired goats as an organic solution to the weed problem.
 
“They eat the leaves and the stems and they take it right down to the ground,” explained Scholl.
 
Three of these goats are still working hard, but their brothers and sisters were furloughed from national parks all over the country.  Larry Cihanek, owner of Green Goats Farm, had to bring 28 other goats home when the parks closed. He said the fear of another shutdown will raise his prices next time.
  
“It’s like any other business: you know what your costs are. If I truly expected to have to pull [the goats] in and out and whatnot, I’d figure out extra transportation and feed costs," said Cihanek.
 
Lastly, waitress Laura Marie Kotran is still Laura Marie Buffi - despite getting married two weeks ago.
 
She's still waiting for a new Social Security card to show the change to her new married name, but that office is now backlogged following the furloughs.
 
“It's just irritating. It is irritating. I'm not happy about it… what are my other choices?” wondered Kotran.
 
Congress may have finished its work on the budget and the debt, but many Americans are assessing what they're left with now that the shutdown is over.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs