News / USA

Obama, Congressional Leaders Narrow Differences, Still No Agreement

President Barack Obama meets with people after making remarks at Gamesa Technology Corporation in Fairless Hills, Pa. , Wednesday, April 6, 2011.
President Barack Obama meets with people after making remarks at Gamesa Technology Corporation in Fairless Hills, Pa. , Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

After a tense meeting at the White House, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders say there has been a narrowing of differences about budget and spending issues that threaten a partial shutdown of the federal government.

The late night meeting with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid - attended by Vice President Joe Biden - came after the president returned from a day of travel to Pennsylvania and New York City.

Failure to achieve a compromise between the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the Democratic-controlled Senate and the White House on reducing spending in the current fiscal year could trigger a federal government shutdown by Friday.

The president came to the White House briefing room to say the talks were, in his words, frank and constructive and that he remains confident a deal can be reached.

"There are ramifications all across this economy.  And, at a time when the economy is still coming out of an extraordinarily deep recession, it would be inexcusable given the relatively narrow differences when it comes to numbers between the two parties, that we can't get this done," he said.

But it was clear from Obama's remarks that more needs to be done for an agreement that would avert a government shutdown.

Reid told reporters the talks narrowed the issues "significantly" but his statement, along with Boehner's, made clear they are still some way from an agreement.

"I have confidence we can get this done.  We are not there yet, but hope lies eternal," said Reid.

"We did have a productive conversation this evening," said Boehner. "We do have some honest differences, but I do think we made some progress."

Reid and Boehner said their staffs would work through the night, with Boehner repeating what he had said earlier in the day, that no one wants a government shutdown.

President Obama said he would check back with Reid and Boehner's staffs, adding that if no progress was made, he would call for yet another round of face-to-face talks.

Earlier, Reid had assailed Republicans saying they had repeatedly changed their negotiating positions and criticized a decision by Speaker Boehner to bring to a vote another short-term spending bill to keep the government operating only for one week.

President Obama opposes additional short term measures to keep the government running.

Speaking in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Obama warned that a government shutdown would create more uncertainty for the economy.

"I do not want to see Washington politics stand in the way of America's progress.  At a time when you're struggling to pay your bills and meet your responsibilities, the least we can do is to meet our responsibilities to produce a budget," added Obama. "That's not too much to ask for."

President Obama has said he wants Congress to agree on a level of cuts that would keep the government operating through the rest of the fiscal year and not harm important programs.

Republican budget cut proposals include provisions that would eliminate government funding for programs such as Planned Parenthood,  reduce authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases and cut funding for public broadcasting.

A partial government shutdown would affect some 800,000 workers not deemed as "essential", and cause delayed military pay, slowed income tax processing and refunds, among other things.


You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
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 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 Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
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.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs