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

Russia Names US NGO 'Undesirable'

Prosecutors determine activities of National Endowment for Democracy to be 'undesirable,' paving the way for it to be outlawed on Russian territory More

Erdogan Vows 'Anti-Terror' Campaign in Syria, Iraq

Erdogan expressed confidence the 'necessary steps' will be taken by NATO leaders, who will meet Tuesday at Turkey's request More

North Korea: 'No Interest at All' in Nuke Deal

Senior US envoy Sydney Seiler visits Beijing Tuesday for talks on how to revive the stalled six-party nuclear talks with North Korea More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs