News / USA

Senate Fiscal Talks at Impasse

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, center, arrives at his office in the Capitol as he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Neveda try to negotiate a legislative solution to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff", Sunday, December 30, 2012.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, center, arrives at his office in the Capitol as he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Neveda try to negotiate a legislative solution to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff", Sunday, December 30, 2012.
Kent Klein
— Leaders in the U.S. Senate questioned Sunday whether they can work out a deal to prevent a fiscal crisis that could damage the fragile economic recovery.  Negotiations between Democrats and Republicans are still far apart, one day before the deadline.

In a prayer at the opening of the rare Sunday Senate session, Chaplain Barry Black asked God to help the two parties find a compromise. “Lord, show them the right thing to do, and give them the courage to do it.  And save us from self-inflicted wounds," he said.

So far, the prayer has not been answered.

The Senate’s top Democrat, Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the top Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have been exchanging proposals, without success.

Reid said Sunday the process had hit a standstill. “The Republican Leader has shown absolutely good faith.  It is just that we are apart on some pretty big issues," he said.

Democrats are reported to oppose a provision in a proposal McConnell made late Saturday that would limit future payments to Social Security recipients.

Reid said he has been in contact with President Barack Obama throughout the past two days, and has been unable to come up with a counteroffer.

The Democratic leader said he is hopeful but realistic about the prospects of an agreement.

McConnell is calling on Vice President Joe Biden, a former Senate colleague, to take part in the negotiations.  He says Democrats have a shown a lack of urgency in the talks.

“The sticking point appears to be a willingness, an interest, or frankly, the courage to close the deal.  I want everyone to know I am willing to get this done, but I need a dance partner," he said.

President Obama Friday instructed Reid to introduce a scaled-back proposal in the Senate, if he and McConnell failed to reach a deal.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” recorded Saturday, Obama blamed Republicans for the failure to forge a compromise.  

“They say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way. But the way they are behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected.  That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme.  And at some point, I think, what is going to be important is that they listen to the American people," he said.

Americans will be hit with an estimated $600 billion in tax increases and government spending cuts Tuesday, if no agreement is reached.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid