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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid