News / USA

House Set for Crucial Vote on Debt Limit Agreement

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011
Cindy Saine

Here in Washington, seemingly all eyes are on the U.S. House of Representatives, which is set to hold a decisive vote on raising the country’s debt ceiling, just one day ahead of a potential default on the national debt.  With the vote expected soon, it is still not clear whether House Speaker John Boehner has the 216 votes needed to pass the measure and send it to the Senate.  

Analysts say a debt deal hammered out late Sunday between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders to raise the debt ceiling and cut government spending is likely to pass the Senate, but the outcome in the House of Representatives is uncertain.

U.S. Debt Deal Facts

  • It allows the debt ceiling to rise by up to $2.4 trillion - enough to keep the country borrowing money until 2013.
  • It includes spending cuts that could reach $2.5 trillion, to exceed the amount of the debt ceiling increase.
  • It initally cuts spending by at least $900 billion over 10 years, and creates a bipartisan budget committee to find additional deficit reduction of at least $1.5 trillion.
  • If the committee fails by late November to find additional ways to reduce the deficit, the failure would trigger automatic cuts across the government to take effect in 2013. Among them would be the first reduction in Defense Department spending in decades.
  • The deal does not include the Republicans' goal of requiring a balanced-budget amendment. It also leaves out the Democrats' plan to end some tax cuts for the wealthy.

One of the main problems appears to be with House Democrats, many of whom say the president has compromised too much and agreed to painful cuts in government programs for the country’s poor, disabled and most vulnerable in order to win the support of conservative and libertarian Tea Party Republicans.  Vice President Joe Biden came to Capitol Hill and met with fellow Democrats in Congress for 90 minutes to try to win support for the debt deal.

The leader of the House Progressive Caucus in the Democratic caucus, Representative Keith Ellison, says he is unconvinced and that many in his caucus will vote “No.” “Republicans have sought to dismantle basic sources for average working Americans, while spending more to support millionaires and corporations.  Tea Party Republicans have held our economy hostage to those demands.  But deficit reductions should not be enacted in a hostage situation," he said.

On the other side of the aisle, several Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee expressed concern about potential cuts in defense spending.

At a news conference, House Speaker John Boehner and Republican House leaders praised the debt agreement as a first step toward fundamentally changing Washington’s spending habits.  But asked whether he had the votes to pass it in the House of Representatives, Boehner said other congressional leaders, likely referring in particular to Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, are also responsible for delivering votes to get the measure through the House.

Watch a Related Report by Laurel Bowman:

“While I would remind all of you that this is not just an agreement between the president and myself, this is an agreement between the bipartisan leaders of the Congress, and the president of the United States.  And all the leaders have a responsibility because they have all signed off on the agreement to bring sufficient votes to make sure that it passes," he said.

Apart from dueling news conferences, there was a rare and raucous protest in the House chamber.  About 25 members of a group called the National Peoples Action chanted that Boehner should stop favoring corporations and unfurled a banner in the House gallery. They were removed and arrested after continuing to yell and chant in the corridors of the Capitol.

The bill up for a vote would raise the U.S. debt ceiling by more than $2 trillion, enough to assure the federal government’s solvency through next year’s national elections, something the president insisted on. It also provides for two rounds of spending cuts. The U.S. national debt stands at $14.3 trillion. If the House passes the bill, it will move to the Senate for a vote. If it passes there, it would then go to President Obama for his signature.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid