News / USA

Obama, Democrats Stake Out Positions for Spending Battle

President Obama Meets with Congressi
X
August 01, 2013 1:16 AM
President Barack Obama met with House and Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill Wednesday for a strategy session ahead of the one-month Congressional recess, when lawmakers return to their home districts to meet with constituents. Both Democrats and Republicans are staking out their positions ahead of possible showdowns over funding the federal government and raising the debt ceiling. As VOA Congressional Correspondent Cindy Saine reports, the looming battle is once again raising concerns about "broken government."
Cindy Saine
President Barack Obama met with House and Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill Wednesday for a strategy session ahead of the one-month Congressional recess, when lawmakers return to their home districts to meet with constituents. Both Democrats and Republicans are staking out their positions ahead of possible showdowns over funding the federal government and raising the debt ceiling.  The looming battle is once again raising concerns about "broken government."

President Obama used three words to sum up the focus of his meetings:

"Jobs, growth and the middle class," he said.

After the meeting, House Democrats praised the president for persevering in the fight for the middle class in repeated battles with Republicans.  The issue is part of the looming fight over funding the federal government and raising the U.S. debt ceiling that is likely to re-surface after the August recess.  

‬‬"The president made it very clear that while he was prepared to work with our Republican colleagues, he was not prepared to put at risk the credit worthiness of the United States of America," said Democrat Steny Hoyer, House Minority Whip.

Raising the debt ceiling would allow the U.S. government to pay its debts.

But in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, scolded the president for giving speeches on the economy.
 
‪"....It really would be nice to see the president work with Congress for a change to get some important things done for the American people. But it’s almost like he’s got a ‘Gone Campaignin’ sign hanging outside the Oval Office," he said.

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks at the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, July 30, 2013.President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks at the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, July 30, 2013.
x
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks at the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, July 30, 2013.
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks at the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, July 30, 2013.
On Tuesday, President Obama spoke at an Amazon.com warehouse in Chattanooga, Tennessee, making a new offer to Republicans.

"I don't want to go through the same old arguments where I propose an idea and the Republicans just say, no, because it’s my idea," he said. "So I’m going to try offering something that serious people in both parties should be able to support:  a deal that simplifies the tax code for our businesses and creates good jobs with good wages for middle-class folks who work at those businesses."

Republican House Speaker John Boehner was not enthused.

“His scheme yesterday would actually require small businesses to pay higher tax rates than big companies," he said. "Now the only thing that’s new here is that he wants to take some of that revenue and use it for more of his stimulus spending."

To cut that spending, some conservative House members have in the past pushed Congress to the brink of defaulting on the nation's debt or shutting down the government.  

David Hawkings of Roll Call says that may happen again.

"There is still a solid number of Republicans in the House especially who are itching for that kind of a confrontation, and think they will win it," he said.

Asked if the U.S. government is broken,  Hawkings said not yet.  

"I would say a shutdown, or even worse than that, a default on our obligations would be an empirical sign that the federal government had broken," he said.

The U.S. Capitol building will likely be calm for a month ahead of the brewing storm in September.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
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 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 Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
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.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
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