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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs