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

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid