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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid