News / USA

Fiscal Cliff Posturing in US is Old Political Game

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid returns from the Christmas recess to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 27, 2012.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid returns from the Christmas recess to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 27, 2012.
x
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid returns from the Christmas recess to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 27, 2012.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid returns from the Christmas recess to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 27, 2012.
With every day that passes the United States is edging closer to the fiscal cliff - a combination of tax hikes and federal spending cuts that could push the country back into recession. So why do some politicians appear to be moving so slowly?

From the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday, a plea for action from Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid - and a swipe at Republican Speaker John Boehner and the House of Representatives:

"They are not in Washington, D.C. The House of Representatives are not here,"  said Reid. "They couldn't even get the leadership together yesterday... John Boehner seems to care more about keeping his speakership than about keeping the nation on firm financial footing. It's obvious. Mr. President, what's going on around here?"

Ongoing gridlock

But what also is obvious to many Washington analysts is the usual politicking as lawmakers try to boost their support and their influence.

Gallup Polling Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport said no one has gotten a bigger boost than President Barack Obama.

"At the moment, President Obama's job approval rating for handling the fiscal cliff and also his overall job approval rating are fairly high. In fact, his overall job approval rating in recent days has been as high as we've seen it since the year he was first inaugurated," said Newport.

Newport said Democratic lawmakers also have seen their approval ratings increase, while Republicans ratings have held steady.

Don Kettl, dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, said that in the end, the politicians want to come out of the crisis looking like they were the ones who won - only it is not as easy as it used to be.

"There would be little sweeteners that could be tossed out. A new dam for somebody's district; a new highway for somebody else's; a new research program that somebody was looking for. But the very fact that so much of this has to do with the budget and that everybody is holding the line on spending at the same time means that it's very hard to throw those extra sweeteners in," said Kettl.

Public pain

For now, some groups, like the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, warn that the fiscal cliff is less and less about potential winners and increasingly about a whole lot of losers.

"It's not the politicians who are going to fall off the cliff. It's the American public. It's the small business owner and the taxpayers and the students and the teachers," said the committee's Marc Goldwein.

For most workers, the fiscal cliff means less spending money - as more taxes are taken out of their paychecks. And for many companies that provide goods or services to the federal government, it will mean less business, and in turn, job cuts.

And analysts say if that happens, it is a good bet the politicians likely will lose, too.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid