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

Kurdish President: More Needed to Defeat Islamic State

In interview with VOA's Persian Service, Massoud Barzani says peshmerga forces have not received weapons, logistical support needed to successfully fight IS in northern Iraq More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment 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.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs