News / USA

Obama Meets with Congressional Leaders on Budget

US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama and top Republican and Democratic congressional leaders met Tuesday to try to reach a budget agreement to avert a government shutdown at the end of the week.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Mr. Obama "strongly believes" a compromise on a 2011 spending plan is "within reach." Congressional Democrats and Republicans have been sparring for months over what cuts to make in the budget to fund the U.S. government through the end of the current fiscal year in September.

Obama says an agreement is needed to avoid jeopardizing the country's economic recovery.  
Republicans say they are trying to end the threat of a shutdown, but say that sharp spending cuts must be enacted to help cut the government's deficit.

The U.S. government has been funded with a series of six stopgap funding plans since the start of the current fiscal year in October.  Obama called the White House meeting in an effort to resolve the impasse.

Government agencies would run out of funding after Friday if there is no compromise on a budget plan. If that happens, numerous government services deemed non-essential would be halted until a plan is adopted.

The White House and the congressional leaders have been trying to cut at least $33 billion from the $1 trillion-plus discretionary portion of the federal government's budget.

But Tea Party supporters among the Republican majority in the House of Representatives have been seeking broader cuts of at least $61 billion. It is part of their effort to cut the size of the federal government, one of their campaign platforms when they were elected last November.

Congressional Democrats have sought to cut spending for various programs that had been mandatory and counting unspent money as part of the savings. But Republicans have been seeking to trim spending for various discretionary domestic programs.

The top lawmaker in the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner, says the savings proposed by the Democrats would be illusory. He said that even more than the $33 billion target should be cut.

Boehner, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other congressional leaders were at the White House meeting Tuesday.

If the White House and congressional leaders do not reach an immediate agreement - but seem on the path to a compromise - they could adopt a seventh short-term budget plan to fund the government. But many lawmakers and the White House have said they are opposed to that idea.

While the White House and lawmakers continue to debate the 2011 spending plan, congressional Republicans also unveiled longer-term cuts that would slash $6.2 trillion in spending over the next decade. One part of that plan would restructure and cut taxpayer spending on health care for the poor and elderly, which accounts for about one-fourth of federal spending.

The Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan, called the plan a "path to prosperity" that would lead to "a debt-free government." He said the government has a "moral imperative" to sharply trim its spending to not burden future generations of taxpayers. The plan is likely to encounter stiff opposition from Democratic lawmakers.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs