News / USA

US Conservative Groups Keep Up Pressure Amid US Budget Talks

U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (2nd L) speaks to the media with other Republican House members in Washington, Oct. 10, 2013.
U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (2nd L) speaks to the media with other Republican House members in Washington, Oct. 10, 2013.
Reuters
Influential U.S. conservative groups are lobbying Republican lawmakers on a bipartisan budget negotiating panel to stand firm in opposition to tax increases and any easing of automatic spending cuts known as the “sequester.”
 
Pressure from the outside groups could raise the chances of a stalemate in the panel's efforts to craft a deficit-reduction deal. The committee faces a December 13 deadline to agree on a plan designed in part to avoid a repeat of the September budget standoff that led to a 16-day government shutdown.
 
Groups such as the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and Heritage Action for America wield enormous clout with Tea Party-oriented Republicans. They were key players battling against compromise in last month's budget drama, pressuring House of Representatives Republicans to refuse to fund the government unless Democrats agreed to measures to weaken President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law known as “Obamacare.”
 
The 29-member budget negotiating committee, comprised of Republican and Democratic members from the House and Senate, was commissioned under a deal that ended the shutdown and prevented a possible default by the United States on its obligations.
 
Among other things, the panel is considering ways to relieve the effects of automatic spending cuts, known as the “sequester,” imposed on military and other government programs starting last year and continuing through 2021.
 
In the absence of any broader deficit-reduction measures, many conservatives want to preserve the sequester as the only real cut of significance they've been able to achieve.
 
“Yes, we're worried,” said Andrew Roth, vice president of government affairs at the Club for Growth, which favors limited government. “We're always worried when they go behind closed doors and try and hatch something.”
 
“To us a bad deal is a deal that increases spending or taxes,” said Dean Clancy, vice president of public policy at FreedomWorks, which advocates for low taxes and spending cuts.
 
Although higher tax revenue is a key demand of Democrats on the panel, most Republicans on the budget panel have ruled it out. Among those opposed to new revenue is the lead Republican negotiator, Paul Ryan, who is chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee.
 
“There's always a risk that they're going to do something like this,” Roth said, referring to revenue increases but he said he didn't think such a deal would ever get approval in the Republican-led House of Representatives because most rank-and-file lawmakers staunchly oppose that.
 
Clancy said he found it “troubling” that one Republican House member on the panel, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, told Bloomberg Television last month that he might be open to raising some revenue.
 
“Mr. Cole's comments alarmed us because if he were to join with the House Democrats, they would have a majority for tax hikes.”
 
The disagreement between Democrats and Republicans over taxes is a huge stumbling block to any broader deal and could even stymie a smaller agreement.
 
One of Democrats' main goals is to ease the impact of the across-the-board spending cuts that have forced cuts in programs ranging from early childhood education to food-safety inspections to scientific research to the military.
 
Republicans have said they would be willing to reduce the size of the cuts in exchange for reductions in entitlements such as the Social Security retirement program and the Medicare health program for older Americans. Democrats say they would only support such cuts if they were accompanied by revenue increases.
 
“I think expectations for the committee are extremely low,” said Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action, which is the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank.
 
Holler said that with the congressional elections coming up in November 2014, he felt confident Republicans would want to avoid having their “fingerprints” on any kind of a tax increase.
 
“Right now, it's just a bunch of conversations happening,” Holler said. He said that for now, Heritage Action is keeping in close touch with lawmakers and their staff and will decide what position to take if and when the panel arrives at a recommendation.
 
Clancy of FreedomWorks said his group was keeping in touch with Ryan and other members.
 
“The grassroots feels cheated and betrayed by Republican leaders who have run on promises to cut spending and stop Obamacare but have proved unable to keep those promises and perhaps unwilling to,” Clancy said. “So our expectations are low and pessimistic and that's why I say for us, no deal is better than a bad deal.”

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid