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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora