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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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 Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid