News / USA

    Bill to Raise US Debt Ceiling Advances - For Now

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz and other House Republicans react to passage of the conservative deficit reduction plan he sponsored known as 'Cut, Cap and Balance,' on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 19, 2011
    Rep. Jason Chaffetz and other House Republicans react to passage of the conservative deficit reduction plan he sponsored known as 'Cut, Cap and Balance,' on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 19, 2011
    Michael Bowman

    The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill tying an increase in the federal borrowing limit to deep spending cuts, limits on future spending, and a proposed constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. The Republican-sponsored measure is expected to fail in the Democratically-controlled Senate, leaving the United States without a clear path to deficit reduction as the clock ticks toward a possible default on America’s $14.3 trillion national debt.

    The Cut, Cap, and Balance Act passed on a mostly party-line vote in the Republican-controlled chamber. The bill would cut non-defense federal spending, limit future spending to less than 20-percent of America’s gross domestic product, and require a constitutional mandate that the United States balance its books every year. It would extract significant savings from so-called entitlement programs that provide income and health care to retirees, but would not increase revenues.

    In an era of massive federal deficits, ballooning national debt, and a stagnant economy, Republicans say strong medicine is required. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan:

    “We cannot keep spending money we do not have," said Ryan. "Forty-two cents out of every dollar coming out of Washington is borrowed money, 47 percent of it from other countries, China number 1 [most of all]. Mr. Speaker, you cannot have sovereignty, self-determination as a country if we are relying on other governments to cash-flow [finance] half of our deficit.”

    Democrats, like Representative John Yarmuth of Kentucky, said the measure would place the full burden of fiscal austerity on America’s poor and vulnerable.  

    “What Cut, Cap, and Balance would really mean is slash, shred, and punish," said Yarmuth. "Slash the budget, shred the safety net, and punish American citizens who can least afford it. All while protecting the wealthiest, most successful [people].”

    Most observers view the bill as an academic exercise designed to appease the ultra-conservative Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. The bill is highly unlikely to pass the Senate, and would face a presidential veto even if it did.

    At the White House, President Barack Obama barely mentioned the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, focusing instead on a new plan put forth by a bipartisan group of Senators, the so-called Gang of Six. The president hailed the plan’s inclusion of spending cuts, entitlement reforms, and tax provisions - what  Obama called a balanced approach to deficit reduction.

    “We now have a bipartisan group of senators who agree with that balanced approach," said President Obama. "And we have got the American people, who agree with that balanced approach.”

    The president urged congressional leaders to turn the plan into a bill that could be voted on as soon as possible, noting that the clock is ticking towards an August 2 deadline for raising the federal borrowing limit. Without action, the United States risks defaulting on its debt obligations.

    Speaking with reporters, the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, would only say that the Gang of Six proposal merits consideration. On the Democratic side, Majority Leader Harry Reid praised the work done by the Gang of Six, but questioned whether enough time exists to enact the gang’s far-reaching proposal before August 2, given the often-cumbersome rules that govern Senate proceedings.

    “I do not want to do anything to jeopardize the enthusiasm people have for the Gang of Six," said Reid. "But I understand what the rules of the Senate are.”

    Senators Reid and McConnell have been working on a plan of their own that would allow President Obama to raise the debt ceiling in installments without majority votes in Congress. It is seen as a fallback plan in the event that debt negotiations fail. If enacted, it would avert the immediate threat of default, but would do little to fix America’s long-term fiscal woes.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora