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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid