News / USA

Congress Battle Over Health Care Threatens Budget Stability

Congress Battle Over Health Care Threatens Budget Stabilityi
X
September 27, 2013 4:31 AM
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

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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid