News / USA

    Obama Hails Senate Procedural Vote on Income Taxes

    President Barack Obama on Monday welcomed a key procedural vote in the U.S. Senate on his compromise tax deal with opposition Republicans. Obama spoke to reporters after the measure cleared that first hurdle in the Senate and urged the measure's passage in the House of House of Representatives, where it faces sharp criticism from members of his Democratic Party.

    The White House was confident in achieving the votes required to move the measure ahead in the Senate, although the president knows there is more work to do with Democrats in the House who are unhappy with the compromise.

    Obama said he has been speaking with House lawmakers about a vote there later this week after the Senate's final vote, which is expected on Tuesday or Wednesday. "I recognize that folks on both sides of the political spectrum are unhappy with certain parts of the package and I understand those concerns. I share some of them. But that is the nature of compromise - sacrificing something that each of us cares about to move forward on what matters to all of us," he said.

    At an estimated cost of more than $850 billion, the tax deal would extend for two years current lower tax rates for middle and upper income Americans put in place under former President George W. Bush.  

    In return, Republicans agreed to a 13-month extension of benefits for about two million unemployed Americans along with provisions that analysts say amount to a second economic stimulus package.

    Taken as a whole, Mr. Obama said, the proposal will grow the economy and create jobs "Nearly every economist agrees that that is what this package will do," he said.

    But in the Senate, a Democrat who voted against the tax deal, Colorado's Mark Udall, disagreed. "If tax cuts for the wealthy among us were an efficient way to spur innovation and investment, I have to believe economists would be telling us to continue them. But here is what they're actually saying. Economists of all stripes are telling us that extending cuts for the wealthy is one of the least effective ways to create jobs and build the economy," he said.

    Obama has faced intense criticism from liberal House Democrats who accuse him of sacrificing core party principles for a deal with Republicans, who are emboldened by their midterm congressional election victories last month.

    After expected final Senate passage, the White House has warned against any significant changes by House Democrats that could cause the compromise to unravel.

    A key House Democratic leader, Maryland Representative Chris Van Hollen, calls the Senate bill unacceptable and vows to make changes in at least one area involving taxes on estates.

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says Democrats continue to work out their differences, and has not rule out potential amendments to the Senate measure. The core priority, he says, is to ensure that there are no tax increases for Americans.

    "In order not to see that happen, we need to get a bill through Congress and signed by the president. We're working on that. The legislative process is a process of give and take.  And I think that is going to occur," he said.

    As the president continues working to ensure congressional passage of the tax bill, the White House is playing down a ruling by a federal judge on a key aspect of Mr. Obama's health care reform law.

    The ruling by a judge in the state of Virginia found that the provision requiring Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 unconstitutional, but it did not block the overall health care law from moving forward.

    White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration disagrees with the ruling, which he noted was expected. He rejected suggestions that it validates a central argument against the health care law. "We're confident that it is constitutional and quite frankly, of the three courts that have rendered decisions on this question, two have ruled in our favor," he said.

    Republicans have vowed to try to repeal the health care law, and it faces legal challenge in several U.S. states. Legal analysts expect at least one of these cases to eventually reach the Supreme Court.

    Republicans immediately cited the ruling as a victory. Ohio Representative John Boehner, who is expected to become House Speaker in January, reiterated his party's intention to repeal the health care law.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora