News / USA

US Congress Returns as President Calls for Action on Jobs

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) announces that Alan Krueger (L) will serve as the Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Washington, D.C., August 29, 2011.
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) announces that Alan Krueger (L) will serve as the Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Washington, D.C., August 29, 2011.

Multimedia

Cindy Saine

Members of the U.S. Congress are returning to work in Washington after their August recess, with the nationwide unemployment rate holding stubbornly at more than nine percent.  President Barack Obama is set to address a joint session of Congress on Thursday to announce his new employment proposal.

Lawmakers left Washington after a bitter partisan battle between Republicans and Democrats over raising the debt ceiling that resulted in a last-minute deal to avert default.  

Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, a Republican, faced off against President Barack Obama, a Democrat, with Republicans refusing to include any tax increases in the debt deal.

"I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the president of the United States.  I stuck my neck out a mile ...  Put something on the table, tell us where you are!" Boehner said.

Veteran political analyst Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute explained that this August was different for lawmakers returning to their home districts after what he termed the debt ceiling "debacle."

"Members of Congress are well aware that their approval ratings are the lowest that they have ever been since we have been reporting these things.  Most members did not do what they normally do in the August recess, hold a whole series of town meetings to get the pulse of the public.  They are frightened to hold those town meetings because they are filled with angry people and disruptions," Ornstein noted..

Recent public-opinion polls show that more than 80 percent of Americans disapprove of the way members of Congress are doing their jobs.

Those lawmakers who were brave enough to hold town meetings did face some raw anger, such as one man who spoke up at a rally for Republican Representative Jeff Miller in Pensacola, Florida. "I am madder than hell!" he said.

To resolve the debt crisis, President Obama and congressional leaders agreed to create what they call a Super Committee, made up of 12 members, six Republicans and six Democrats, to hammer out an agreement to reduce the deficit.  Reporter Jonathan Allen of Politico explains.

"You have got this super committee that is going to be determining up to a trillion and a half dollars in deficit reduction, they will all be very focused on that, they have all been hearing from their constituents about what programs to cut, what programs to save,  whether or not taxes should be a part of that mix.  And in addition to that they are going to have a whole year's worth of government spending bills to do, the fiscal 2012 bills, the new year for the government starts on October first, none of that is done yet."

Norman Ornstein says the American public wants Congress to pivot away from a single-minded focus on debt to jobs.  But he said in his decades as an observer of U.S. politics, he has never seen a more dysfunctional government.

"Now the basic reality is if Barack Obama is for it, it does not matter what it is, you are going to get a unified Republican opposition.  And we know that the battle over debt is not simply a battle over debt, it is a surrogate for this larger question of whether we can have a revolution and reduce government back to really what is was before the New Deal, and Franklin Roosevelt," Ornstein stated.  "And you have got a large group of people, not just Tea Party freshmen, but more senior Republicans determined to use every element and tactic and weapon at their disposal to make that happen.  That makes this a different era."

Despite the fierce opposition that the president has met from the Republican-controlled House, Obama plans to head to Capitol Hill Thursday to deliver a major speech on putting Americans back to work.  He is expected to appeal to lawmakers to put politics aside to take bold action to create jobs, but they are all keenly aware that 2012 is an election year.

You May Like

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs