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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid