News / USA

No Agreement in Congress on US Budget, Talks Continue

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, to discuss GOP efforts to create jobs and cut spending, April 1, 2011
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, to discuss GOP efforts to create jobs and cut spending, April 1, 2011
Cindy Saine

Negotiations are continuing on Capitol Hill to try to reach an agreement on spending levels for the 2011 federal government budget.  House of Representatives Speaker, Republican John Boehner says he did not reach an agreement on the budget with President Barack Obama in talks at the White House Tuesday.  Later talks between Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were described as "productive," but with no indication of a breakthrough.  A temporary resolution to fund the U.S. government expires at the end of the week.  If no spending bill is agreed to by Congress, there will be a partial government shutdown that will affect services for millions of Americans. 

Lawmakers have debated this year's government-spending levels for months, with Republicans demanding major cuts in domestic discretionary programs championed by Democrats, including some social programs for the poor and aged, and cuts in grants to college students from low-income families.

President Obama said Tuesday that Democrats have already met Republican demands for spending cuts, and that Republican lawmakers should not let ideology get in the way of preventing a partial government shutdown that could jeopardize the nation's economic recovery.

Mr. Obama called on Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid  to get the 2011 budget issue resolved, saying that if not, he would ask them to come to the White House on Wednesday.

"It would be inexcusable for us to not be able to take care of last year’s business - keep in mind we’re dealing with a budget that could have gotten done three months ago, could have gotten done two months ago, could have gotten done last month - when we are this close simply because of politics," said President Obama.

Boehner said that the talks are continuing, but he denied that any agreement had been reached on cutting $33 billion from the budget.

"We have made clear that we are fighting for the largest spending cuts possible," said Speaker Boehner. "We are talking about real spending cuts here, no smoke and mirrors [no attempt to disguise the issue].  We have also made clear that there was never an agreement at $33 billion, that we are going to continue to fight for again the largest cuts possible."

The Republican-controlled House has passed a budget with $60 billion in spending cuts, but it failed to pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate.  Several fiscal conservative Tea Party Republicans are rejecting any compromise on spending cuts, putting House Speaker Boehner in a difficult position.

The president, Boehner and two other congressional leaders reportedly discussed domestic spending cuts in the range of $30 billion - close to the amount Boehner had originally requested.

A partial government shutdown would mean that millions of federal employees deemed nonessential would not report to work until the budget showdown is resolved.  National security would not be affected, but services such as visa and passport services would likely be suspended.

Most Democratic lawmakers and many advocates for working families say Republicans want to reduce the national debt on the backs of the poorest and most disadvantaged Americans, including children and the elderly.

One of them is Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman:

"They are taking food out of the mouths of weak babies and weak mothers," said Edelman. "I mean what kind of country that is the richest in the world would take food literally out of the mouths of babies while giving tax cuts to billionaires and millionaires."

Republicans say government spending is out of control, and point out that Democrats failed to pass a budget last year when they still had majority control of the House of Representatives.  Lawmakers have spent so much time debating the current year's budget, that it is now colliding with efforts to begin discussions on the 2012 budget.

On Tuesday, Republican Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Committee on the Budget, introduced his party's 2012 budget proposal, which includes more cuts in government spending and an overhaul of popular government healthcare programs for the poor and elderly, Medicaid and Medicare.

Ryan says he believes that reducing the national debt is a moral imperative.

"For starters, we propose to cut $6.2 trillion in spending over the next 10 years from the president's budget," said Ryan. "We reduce the debt as a percent of the economy, we put the nation on the path to actually pay off our national debt.  Our goal here is to leave our children and our grandchildren with a debt-free nation."

Senate Democrats are likely to reject Ryan's proposal, but experts say it will help frame the long-term debate on tackling the biggest parts of the federal budget - Medicare, Medicaid, social security and defense spending.  

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs