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

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid