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.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora