News / USA

Obama to Meet With House Republican Leaders on Budget Crisis

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about the continuing government shutdown from the White House Briefing Room in Washington, Oct. 8, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about the continuing government shutdown from the White House Briefing Room in Washington, Oct. 8, 2013.
Cindy Saine
U.S. President Barack Obama is reaching out to members of Congress to try to resolve two budget crises, the partial government shutdown and a deadline next week to raise the debt ceiling or risk default.
 
Obama invited all House Democrats to the White House on Wednesday, in an effort to start a dialogue and end the political deadlock that caused large parts of the government to shut down nine days ago.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi emerged from the meeting, and said Democrats and House Republicans are still far apart on passing a “clean” bill without conditions to raise the debt ceiling before an October 17 deadline.

"And there is no concession on the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling needs to be lifted,” she said.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner is demanding that the president negotiate with Republicans over the debt ceiling, and has said there must be spending cuts.  

The US debt limit:

  • Is the total amount of money the US government can borrow to meet existing legal obligations
  • Obligations include Social Security, Medicare, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds
  • Raising the debt limit does not authorize new spending commitments
  • Failing to increase the debt limit would cause the government to default on its legal obligations
  • Since 1960, Congress has acted to raise the debt limit 78 times

Source: US Department of Treasury
The president invited all 232 House Republicans to come to the White House for talks on the budget crisis Thursday. But a spokesman for Boehner said only 18 Republican leaders will go, saying a smaller group is more likely to find a solution.
 
In a written statement, the White House said the president is disappointed that Boehner is preventing his members from coming to the White House. Obama has said he will negotiate with Republicans only after the government has been funded and the debt limit has been raised.
 
On Capitol Hill, frustration over the lack of progress has even affected Senate Chaplain Barry Black. On Wednesday, Black highlighted the plight of 26 families who have lost a loved one in the U.S. Armed Services since the shutdown began nine days ago.
 
“Lord, when our federal shutdown delays payments of death benefits to the families of children dying on faraway battlefields, it’s time for our lawmakers to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ Cover our shame," said Black.
 
The House of Representatives voted 425 to zero Wednesday to restore payments to the families of those who died in combat. The U.S. government typically pays $100,000 to the families of fallen service members within three days of their death, to cover funeral and travel expenses. The president has said he wants the benefits restored right away.
 
The Republican-led House has passed a number of measures to fund individual government programs or agencies, but the Democratic-led Senate is calling on the House to pass a "clean" bill without conditions to fund the entire federal government, and to pass a measure to raise the U.S. borrowing limit before funds are expected to run out on October 17.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs