News / USA

US Congress Prepares to Vote on Breakthrough Fiscal Deal

FILE - Members of Congress line up to file onto the House floor for a vote, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
FILE - Members of Congress line up to file onto the House floor for a vote, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Reuters
U.S. Senate leaders struck a bipartisan 11th-hour deal to break the fiscal impasse on Wednesday, and the Republican-led House of Representatives agreed to take it up as Congress moved to avert a historic debt default.

With the government's borrowing authority set to run out on Thursday, aides said House Speaker John Boehner would allow the deeply divided House to vote on the Senate plan for a short-term increase in the debt limit and a reopening of government, which was expected to pass with mostly Democratic votes.

The timing of the House and Senate votes is unclear.

The deal would extend U.S. borrowing authority until February 7, although the Treasury Department would have tools to temporarily extend its borrowing capacity beyond that date if Congress failed to act early next year.

The agreement also would fund government agencies until January 15, ending a partial government shutdown that began with the new fiscal year on October 1.

The moves were a bruising political defeat for Republican conservatives who had demanded changes to President Barack Obama's healthcare law before they would agree to fund the government.

It was unclear if Boehner's leadership position will be at risk in the political fallout, but opinion polls show Republicans have taken a political beating in the showdown as they head into next year's congressional elections.

“The deal we've got, you know the old saying 'we may have left a little bit on the table?' We left everything on the table,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said. “This has been a very bad two weeks for the Republican brand, conservatism.”

Major US Payments Due

  • Oct. 23 - Social Security benefits $12 billion
  • Oct. 30 - Medicaid payments to providers $2 billion
  • Oct. 31 - Interest payment on public debt $6 billion
  • Nov. 1 - Medicare payment to providers and  plans $18 billion                
  • Social Security benefits $25 billion
  • Military pay, retirement and veteran benefits $12 billion
  • Supplemental Security income benefits $3 billion
  • Nov. 14 - Social Security benefits $12 billion
  • Nov. 15 - Interest payment on debt $29 billion
Asked by reporters if the fight for deficit reduction and changes to the healthcare law was over for now: “That appears to be where we are headed,” said Republican Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio.

It remained to be seen if the House and Senate could pass the deal before Thursday, when the U.S. Treasury has said it will hit a $16.7-trillion borrowing limit. The government will have enough cash on hand to meet its financial obligations for a few more days, but officials have warned that an economically devastating default could quickly follow.

The deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell gives Obama what he had demanded for months: a straightforward debt limit hike and government funding bill.

The extension is shorter than the one year Obama had asked for, however, and promises another budget fight in a few months.

The deal includes some income verification procedures for those seeking subsidies under the healthcare law, but Republicans surrendered on their attempts to include other changes, including the elimination of a medical device tax used to help pay for it.

“This is not a time for pointing fingers and blame. This is a time for reconciliation,” said Reid on the Senate floor in announcing the deal.

McConnell and Reid said the agreement will give both parties time to try to negotiate a long-range budget agreement, although they acknowledged that has been hard to achieve.

The Senate leaders were exploring ways to speed the legislation through their chamber, which often can get bogged down for days with procedural hurdles.

Republican Tea Party firebrands, such as Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, have tried to delay passage of a government funding bill as they demanded changes to Obama's signature healthcare law in return.

But Cruz said on Wednesday he would not delay passage of the bipartisan deal, although he bitterly criticized it.

“Unfortunately, once again it appears the Washington establishment has refused to listen to the American people,” Cruz told reporters.

The budget deadlock led to federal agency shutdowns as Obama and his fellow Democrats stood firm against changing the healthcare law.

Republican Representative Sean Duffy of Wisconsin said most House conservatives likely would reject the Senate's plan, but “more than likely it'll pass,” he told MSNBC's Morning Joe on Wednesday.

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

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Warren B from: USA
October 17, 2013 8:25 AM
Interesting that the foreign press, pundits and commenters are in just as much DENIAL as Americans. There are comparatively few stories / comments about the lack of fiscal leadership in DC (from both sides of the isle) and a PLAN to pull back from disastrous (think same road as Germany pre WWI) debt. Debt that will crush this nation two generations from now. Anyone who is not concerned about that is saying, "I want things good for me...now...I don't care about two generations from now or even what happens twenty years from now. It won't be my problem."

US government and world leaders to ordinary citizens who are caught up in the shell game of how to keep the sinking boat afloat for six more months by bailing - instead of doing the HARD work of fixing the leaks aka debt reduction - are at the root of this mega problem. Those who refuse to even think about it are going to go down with the boat or their children and children's children will. You cannot add trillions to 17 trillion debt and never have a reckoning. TRUTH


by: James from: Broadwater, Nebr
October 16, 2013 4:20 PM
Fiat: I don't know who you've been talking to but no one I know thinks that the ACA would provide free health care. Paying premiums to insurance companies can hardly be defined as free, unless there is a definition of "free" I am unaware of.


by: Fake Fiat money from: USA
October 16, 2013 1:15 PM
That’s how we ended up with a president who is actually little more than a salesperson… a weaver of tall tales. Obamacare, we now know, was a fairy tale, yet it was sold so expertly that many Americans still somehow believe they are about to receive “free” health care just as soon as those little “glitches” get ironed out on Healthcare.gov.Denial is not just a river in Egypt. It’s also the cornerstone philosophy of politics in America. We can’t fix the real problems facing this nation until we first concede that problems exist (infinite debt spending, out-of-control government, the erosion of civil liberties, etc). The very people who dare admit to having any connection with reality — people like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz — are viciously attacked by everyone, including their own party members.

I want to see someone in Washington who has some guts. I don’t care if they’re Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Independent. We need men and women with backbone to stand up and resist this mad hurling of the nation into the fiscal abyss. Where has sanity gone? Why does the president refer to people who want to pull us back from the edge of financial collapse as “arsonists?” If we do not stop the unlimited debt spending now, when will it ever stop? Obama has doubled our national debt. We are at $17 trillion and climbing, plus another $125 trillion in unfunded liabilities. These numbers will crush America’s economic future, yet the only thing these kleptocrats in Washington seem to care about is whether their “gang” (party) ends up on top after the fallout settles.

What you are watching unfold in America today is pure madness. The ending chapter of this saga will not be pretty, and it will not be something you want to ride out with anything less than a full supply of storable food, non-hybrid seeds, spare cash, emergency medicine, self defense items and all the usual preparedness gear.

In Response

by: Ramnarayan from: Florida, USA
October 16, 2013 4:36 PM
Largely I agree with you. But, Obama is not t the only one to blame. Yes, we need politicians who has the guts to stand up. How about standing up to the tea party? They are an insult to most of the people. Affordable health care contrary to your views, is not a sham and not a failure. Talk to parents who have kids in College.
What we need is politicians who can represent the people who elected them. They need to take their fights to the election instead of holding the country to ransom every few months. Only a third party could get us out of this mess. Ted Cruz and Palin are not going to save the Country. Let us not forget the previous GOP President ran a muck and spend all our surplus to drain on a fiction of war.At at time, I did not hear any body questioning for fear of being labeled as unpatriotic.

In Response

by: Philip from: Australia
October 16, 2013 3:05 PM
I agree with the above comment and add that what the Democrats and Republicans are currently doing are not only destroying the American economy but also the rest of the world's economies by causing uncertainties.
I call this "International Terrorism".
I somehow hope that in the end ,sanity (if there is any)will prevail and this continuous farce will come to an end.

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