News / USA

House Republicans, Senate Democrats Clash On US Budget

Congresman Paul Ryan holds copy of 2014 Budget Resolution March 12, 2013.
Congresman Paul Ryan holds copy of 2014 Budget Resolution March 12, 2013.
Cindy Saine
The U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman, Republican Paul Ryan, has introduced his 2014 budget proposal.  It would cut $4.6 trillion in government spending and balance the U.S. budget in ten years.  Democrats are criticizing the plan, saying it would hurt middle class Americans.  

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan appeared confident as he held up his “Path to Prosperity” budget plan Tuesday, which would erase the deficit in ten years - without raising taxes.

“Balancing the budget is a means to an end, it is a means to a healthier economy, a pro-growth society, a pro-growth economy that delivers opportunity,” Ryan said.

The Ryan budget is expected to be approved by the full House of Representatives next week, but it is non-binding and does not have the force of law. It lays out Republicans’ priorities on reducing the size of the federal government and would repeal most of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.

Democrats, including the White House, pounced on the budget plan, calling it uncompromising, and saying they strongly disagree with the priorities it sets.  Senate Majority leader Harry Reid:

“The Ryan Republican budget will call for more tax breaks for the wealthy, an end to Medicare [government health care insurance program for the elderly] as we know it, and draconian cuts to education and other programs that help America’s economy grow and prosper,” Reid said.

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray discussed her Senate Democratic plan with President Obama, who met with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill Tuesday.  She had a short summary of the Ryan plan

“The same old song, doubled down from what they have run on for the past two years,” she sauid.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Ryan's budget does not include the balance between tax increases and spending cuts that the administration is insisting on, and would instead hurt the middle class.

Republicans have criticized Senate Democrats and the president for being unwilling to tackle the difficult issue of cutting the high costs of social programs for the poor and the elderly such as Medicare and Medicaid.  Ryan challenged President Obama.

“And so this is an invitation.  Show us how to balance the budget.  If you don’t like the way we are proposing to balance our budget, how do you propose to balance the budget?,” Ryan said.

Analysts say the Ryan plan has no chance of passing in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and that both chambers will likely pass their own versions, which would then somehow have to be reconciled for the budget to become law.   Congressional scholar Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution said the best hope for a solution lies with Senate Republicans.

“The only way we will get moved toward any agreement is if a group of Senate Republicans decide to engage in serious negotiation with the Democrats and the president,” Mann said.

Mann said that if the Senate passes a compromise budget, then the House might also be able to introduce and pass one as well, with the support of a few Republicans and a large number of Democrats,  but without the help of fiscally conservative Tea Party Republicans.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More