News / USA

Obama to Take 'Charm Offensive' to Congress

Washington Week: Obama Continues Search for Bipartisanshipi
X
March 10, 2013 7:58 PM
Later this week, President Barack Obama is expected to make three trips to the U.S. Capitol to meet with lawmakers of both parties. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports the president hopes personal interaction with legislators will produce a rare commodity in Washington: a bipartisan approach to challenges ranging from fiscal matters to immigration reform.
Washington Week: Obama Continues Search for Bipartisanship
Michael Bowman
U.S. lawmakers of both parties are praising President Barack Obama’s overtures to Capitol Hill, but say those efforts alone will not spur bipartisan action on the nation’s fiscal woes and other challenges.  
 
Pennsylvania Avenue, which runs from the Capitol to the White House, will be well-worn this week by presidential motorcades.  Obama is expected to make three separate trips to Congress to meet with lawmakers, hoping personal interaction will spur a rare commodity in Washington: a bipartisan approach to challenges ranging from fiscal matters to immigration reform.
 
“I have been reaching out to Republicans and Democrats to see if we can untangle some of the gridlock.  I still believe we can come together to do big things," he said. 
 
Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press program, Republican Senator Tom Coburn applauded the president’s so-called “charm offensive”.
 
“I am welcoming [the Obama effort] with open arms.  I think the president is tremendously sincere.  I think he actually would like to solve the problems of the country, and it would be to his benefit - and certainly every Americans’ benefit - if he did that," he said. 
 
Last week, Obama dined twice with groups of Republican lawmakers, including Senator Robert Portman.  Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation program, Portman said presidential outreach to Republicans on fiscal matters will be wasted unless Obama convinces Democratic lawmakers to embrace genuine spending restraint.
 
“To build some trust is a good thing.  But to be honest with you, what the president needs to do is reach out, not just to Republicans, but to Democrats.  And to ensure that he gives them the political cover to do, frankly, what most of them know needs to be done," he said. 
 
The president has been urging Democratic lawmakers to accept politically painful reforms to costly programs that provide income and healthcare for retirees.  But he also is urging Republicans to accept higher tax revenues as part of a formula for large-scale deficit reduction, a point emphasized by Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen.
 
“Ultimately, our Republican colleagues are going to have to back off their position where they are saying you cannot close one single tax loophole for the purpose of reducing the deficit.  So, more talk is good.  But ultimately we need everybody to come together and compromise," he said. 
 
House Republicans have prepared a budget blueprint that would eliminate America’s trillion-dollar federal deficit in 10 years - a first step to ultimately shrinking a $16 trillion national debt.  That plan accomplishes deficit reduction through spending cuts and reforms while actually lowering federal tax rates. 
 
Democrats say any cuts-only plan will dismantle America’s social safety net and place the full burden of deficit reduction on the elderly and the poor.
 
Obama hopes to bridge such partisan differences with shuttle diplomacy along Pennsylvania Avenue.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs