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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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 Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More