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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs