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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid