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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    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.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.