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

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid