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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs