News / USA

Congress Battle Over Health Care Threatens Budget Stability

Congress Battle Over Health Care Threatens Budget Stabilityi
X
September 27, 2013
Tensions are high in the U.S. Capitol ahead of a midnight Monday deadline to extend federal funding authority to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Congress Battle Over Health Care Threatens Budget Stability

TEXT SIZE - +
Cindy SaineRobert Raffaele
— Tensions are high in the U.S. Capitol ahead of a midnight Monday deadline to extend federal funding authority to avoid a partial government shutdown.  As the U.S. Treasury Department also recently announced that Congress will also need to raise the nation's debt ceiling by October 17, lawmakers may find themselves overwhelmed by a cascade of crises.

Experts say that ideological differences between Democrats and the most conservative Republican lawmakers over the role of government in Americans' daily lives are making it increasingly difficult for Congress to conduct its most basic tasks.
 
Republican Senator Ted Cruz even read a children's story during an all-night Senate session in the midst of a battle that could lead to a government shutdown.  Critics called it political theater, while others recalled the iconic American movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, in which James Stewart plays a junior senator railing against corruption.
 
Some Americans see a replay in this most recent budget drama.  Analyst Charlie Cook predicts Congress will eventually fund the government and raise the debt ceiling.  Even if the deadline is missed by a few days, he says, it will get fixed.
 
"You know the thing about the shutdown, and the debt ceiling as well, is this is like a movie.  You know the ending, you just don't know how agonizing and how traumatic it is going to be, but you know what the ending is going to be, and we all know that," said Cook. 
 
Raising the debt ceiling has required to-the-bring fights in the past as well. This persistent series of constant crises and short-term fixes frustrates many, including Senate Majority leader Harry Reid.
 
“A Band-Aid approach to a world crisis is an embarrassment to Congress, to this country and to the world,” said Reid in August 2011.
 
The president's reform of American health care is at the core of the argument, with lawmakers disagreeing on what the federal government's role should be in providing millions of Americans access to care.
 
A sector of the American public rose in protest over an enhanced federal role, and the divide in Congress between Republicans and Democrats, who pushed the reform, reflects the divide in the country say observers such as Cook.
 
"You have a lot of Americans who are very upset with the level of spending and at the level of the national debt. And there's a mentality that we are ‘mad’ as hell and we are not going to take it anymore, and this is just an outlet for that frustration," said Cook.
 
Other analysts, such as budget expert Stan Collender, say the costs of a shutdown or default will be great and Republicans are playing with political fire.
 
"I do think they will take it on the chin politically, and some of the non-Tea Party wing members, the non-militant conservative members of the Republican Party, are finally going to go and say 'Enough, we have to come up with something that stops this because we are bleeding politically,'" said Collender.
 
The last act in this drama might come, as it has in similar ones, at the last moment; the House of Representatives could vote as the Monday midnight deadline approaches.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid