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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid