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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid