News / USA

Obama, Congress Headed for Budget Showdown

Obama, Congress Headed for Budget Showdowni
X
February 20, 2013 8:03 PM
President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress are headed for a budget showdown on March 1 involving $85 billion in mandatory cuts, unless lawmakers come up with a different way to reduce the deficit. As VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports, the cuts will affect domestic and military spending equally, and have hardened the political battle lines in Washington.

Obama, Congress Headed for Budget Showdown

President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress are headed for a budget showdown on March 1 involving $85 billion in mandatory cuts, unless lawmakers come up with a different way to reduce the deficit. The cuts will affect domestic and military spending equally, and have hardened the political battle lines in Washington.

Back in August of 2011, Obama proposed mandatory budget cuts as a way of forcing action to reduce deficit spending by more than $1 trillion over 10 years.

Most analysts predicted Congress agreed to this believing the mandatory cuts would never happen and that lawmakers would find a way to compromise on a different set of cuts in time to avert what many see as a ‘meat cleaver’ approach to cutting government spending.

Art of the deal

Compromise has proved elusive in the age of polarized politics in Washington, however, and the president warned lawmakers and the public about the consequences of the cuts in his recent State of the Union address.

“They would devastate priorities like education and energy and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs,” he said.

Republicans are holding firm, including the Speaker of the House, Congressman John Boehner of Ohio.

“The sequester will be in effect until there are cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget over the next 10 years, period!” said Boehner.

Opting for cuts

Analysts say conservatives now see the sequester cuts as the best way to make a real dent in government spending. Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute was a guest on VOA’s ‘Press Conference USA’ program.

“Especially a number of conservatives, in and out of Congress, The Wall Street Journal editorial page, talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, are saying, 'Bring it on, let us do the sequester [cuts],' and the basic underlying theme is, 'We are going to get a huge set of budget cuts. We are not going to get them any other way. Big deal if they hurt. Let us make it happen,'” said Ornstein.

Ornstein said Republicans are taking a risk by backing the cuts and directly challenging Obama so soon after his re-election victory last November.

“The president has the upper hand in many objective ways. His approval rating is high. Congress’ approval rating is low, and Republicans in Congress have a particularly low approval rating. Americans do not want these things to occur.”

Slashing humanitarian, military aid

In order to block the sequester cuts from taking effect, Congress would have to pass an alternative set of budget cuts by March 1. But Ornstein said time is running out.

"And the real danger here is that we could reach a confrontation and have some real damage done that ultimately will probably be dealt with, but in the meantime the damage will be there and it will be long lasting,” he said.

The cuts would affect international humanitarian and military assistance, and could upset allies, said analyst Jim Arkedis with the Progressive Policy Institute.

"I think that the world is probably a little bit frustrated, certainly countries that are expecting to receive American aid, whether it is humanitarian or military assistance, you name it, sort of Democratic formation assistance, that sort of thing, are probably frustrated and nervous,” said Arkedis.

Neither side appears in a hurry to do much to derail the automatic cuts. Republicans see it as the only way to truly shrink government spending. Democrats believe they will reap political benefit because the public will largely blame Republicans for any disruption to government services that come about from the cuts.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: sdt from: ellisville,ms
February 20, 2013 7:12 PM
Well ,it just breaks my heart that " those countries expecting aid " will be mad at the USA. We are borrowing forty cents on every dollar. Tell China to help all these poor nations. We need to pay off our debts before we send aid, whetherit's miltary or humanitarian to any other country. Enough is Enough !!


by: MavisRooster from: US
February 20, 2013 6:33 PM
85 billion? Over what? A year? 10 years? If it were 85 billion a month, that would be something to talk about. Otherwise, it's nothing. Michelle has spent that much on vacations. Are we supposed to believe this nonsense is a real issue? How stupid do they think we are? In reality, the American people are probably even dumber than they imagine. Otherwise, this wouldn't be happening. We'd have cut the budget by at least a trillion a year - just to get things headed in the right direction before getting things really down to size.


by: Paul R. Barnard from: Lynn Indiana
February 20, 2013 6:19 PM
this is just another way the the pres. can be a dictator he wants his way he is nothing but a big baby(I want it my way)


by: Kevin Stober from: Helena
February 20, 2013 6:06 PM
We Americans do want these cuts and we are behind Congress being firm that something has to be done to stop all the spending and it seems the POTUS doesn't get the message so let the automatic cuts go into effect and save the people that are footing the bill the American people.


by: mb from: fl
February 20, 2013 6:06 PM
did it not say oboma proposed these cuts


by: Jeremy Quinn from: San Diego
February 20, 2013 5:55 PM
Why don't they understand that we, the people, won't hold any one party to blame, but ALL our leaders. We empowered them to speak for us and work on our behalf- not to blame someone else. Any one of us can do that.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid