News / USA

Obama, Lawmakers Headed for 4th Round of Budget Negotiations

House Speaker John Boehner listens at left, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to reporters outside the White House, April 7, 2011
House Speaker John Boehner listens at left, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks to reporters outside the White House, April 7, 2011

President Barack and Obama and congressional leaders are headed for the fourth round of negotiations this week at the White House as they try to reach a compromise to avert a partial U.S. government shutdown.  

The president, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Republican House Speaker John Boehner will hold their fourth round of talks later Thursday.

Earlier, there appeared to have been little if any progress in round-the-clock negotiations involving congressional staffs and Obama administration officials.

And comments by Reid and Boehner made it difficult to discern whether there has been any "narrowing" of differences as was suggested in comments earlier in the week.

Democrats say main sticking points are Republican policy provisions, separate of a specific 2011 fiscal year budget cut figure, that would prohibit government payments to abortion providers, and restrict government regulation of clean air policies.

On Capitol Hill, Boehner suggested that a wide range of issues, including the question of an overall budget cut level, stand in the way of an agreement.

"There is no agreement on a number, in fact I think we were closer to a number last night than we are this morning," said Boehner. "There are a number of issues that are on the table and any attempt to try to narrow this down to one or two, just would not be accurate."

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer asserted there has been consensus on  an overall budget reduction figure, and asserted that ideological issues driven by the grassroots conservative Tea Party, are at the heart of the problem.

"We pretty much have a consensus on the right level of cuts and where they should come from," said Schumer. "It is the ideological riders that having nothing to do with the [government] deficit, that are standing in the way."

Tea Party members who are part of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, have been pressing Speaker Boehner to hold out for the largest cuts possible.

Reid and Boehner spoke to reporters at the White House earlier on Thursday as they announced they will return for a fourth round of talks with Mr. Obama.

BOEHNER: "There is no agreement on a number, there [is] no agreement on the policy issues that are contained with this."

REID: "So we are going to continue to work to get this done.  It is not easy to do, but it is doable."

Further complicating the picture, the House of Representatives approved a temporary measure to keep the government operating for another week, with $12 billion in budget cuts.

But it was crafted by Republicans to embarrass Democrats who, if they voted against it, might be seen by the public to be failing to support U.S. troops.  

That legislative tactic angered President Obama who issued a veto threat, calling the measure a distraction from the goal of a compromise to fund the government for the full year.

Republican congressmen, including Kevin McCarthy of California  made use of the issue as they accused Democrats and Mr. Obama of supporting a government shutdown.

"If Reid shuts and the president shuts the government down, and does not fund the troops, shame on them," said McCarthy.

If negotiations fail to come up with a solution to the fierce debate over the budget and spending cuts, the federal government would begin a partial shutdown on Friday.

You May Like

Video Obama: Action on Climate Change 'Economic, Security Imperative'

President spoke to reporters on sidelines of UN Climate Summit outside Paris, where leaders are working to agree on binding measures

IMF Bets on China’s Resolve to Reform

IMF announcement already raising questions about just how much Beijing is committed to such reforms

What Happened When I Landed in Antarctica

Refael Klein chronicles what it's like to visit one of the coldest, most desolate places on Earth

This forum has been closed.
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.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs