News / USA

Election Politics Threatens to Derail Deficit Committee

Members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction hold a public hearing with Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf, seated at right, on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 26, 2011.
Members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction hold a public hearing with Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf, seated at right, on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 26, 2011.

In Washington, the congressional "supercommittee" appears on the verge of failure as it nears a Wednesday deadline to cut the country's $15-trillion debt by at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. Failure to reach agreement could trigger automatic cuts by the same amount in domestic and defense spending over 10 years, beginning in 2013, which would have far-reaching political and economic impact.

Voters flood a congressional hearing room angered by the prospect of budget cuts to programs that benefit the elderly and poor.

Lawmakers are struggling to agree on a mix of spending cuts and tax increases to cut the deficit, and failure could have worldwide implications, said Democratic Senator Kent Conrad.

“The world is watching. We know that the economic future of our country and the world rests on decisions that will be made in the next few days,” said Conrad.

Art of compromise?

University student Taylor Nash said it is time for Congress to compromise. “Right now the ideological stances on both the left and right seem to hamper their ability to come together and make decisions for the country as a whole. It’s more of a party war,” said Nash.

What if the supercommittee fails?



    - $1.2 billion in cuts split equally between defense and non-defense spending are triggered.
    - Estimated at $55 billion in each type of spending per year from 2013 through 2021.
    - Social Security, Medicare, and other programs exempt from cuts.
    - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warns cuts could leave U.S. military with its smallest ground force since 1940s.
    -The automatic spending reductions are known as "sequestration."

He is not alone, said Diane Lim Rogers of the centrist Concord Coalition. “Most Americans look at Congress and they say, ‘Hey, just work it out’. It is not impossible to work this out. You just have to let go of your very ideological positions that you have held onto for the past decade,” said Rogers.

But deep disagreements over raising taxes and cutting spending have hamstrung the supercommittee, said political analyst Stuart Rothenberg.

Basic difference of opinion

“I think people would like the supercommittee to work. The problem is the same problem we have had for many months in that there is a fundamental disagreement between Republicans and Democrats, and conservatives and liberals as to who pays the price,” said Rothenberg.

Rothenberg said compromise is difficult because lawmakers are most worried about next year’s election.

“If Republicans vote to increase some taxes and their conservative wing gets angry at that, they could have a bloodbath. And if Democrats say we will make significant cuts in Social Security and Medicare, then the liberal wing of the Democratic Party will absolutely start screaming,” said Rothenberg.

Rothenberg and other analysts say lawmakers do have one major incentive to act. A recent public opinion poll found only 9 percent of Americans approve of Congress, an all-time low.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim 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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid