World News

Senate Democrats Plead with House to Pass Their Budget

The White House says President Barack Obama has invited congressional leaders to the White House late Wednesday to discuss ending the government shutdown, as some Republicans in the House of Representative seemed willing to break the standoff over the president's signature health care law.

Several House Republicans say they would join with Democrats to support a Senate spending bill that would end the U.S. government shutdown with no strings attached.

Republicans in the House of Representatives have tied government funding to a delay or defunding of the health care program.

But the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected the House proposals and the shutdown went into effect early Tuesday after the deadline to extend federal funding passed.

Nearly one-million U.S. federal workers have been laid off and the shutdown is keeping national parks and many federal agencies shuttered.

The U.S. government shutdown is also forcing President Barack Obama to cancel two stops on his upcoming trip to Asia .

On the second day of the shutdown, the White House said Mr. Obama is cutting his planned visits to Malaysia and the Philippines. But VOA White House Correspondent Dan Robinson says the president still plans to make his first two stops, in Indonesia and Brunei, to attend the APEC and East Asia Summits.

"There is a lot at stake for President Obama. As you know he did not go to the APEC summit in 2012. He was represented there by Secretary of State, then Secretary of State Clinton. So it is really important for a U.S. leader, given the whole Asia-pivot on economic and military security, the Asia pivot strategy, to show up at these meetings."

Senate Democrats with ties to hundreds of thousands of furloughed government workers pleaded with House Republicans Wednesday to vote on a Senate bill that approves a budget without affecting the health care law.

Senator Mark Warner, from Virginia, called shutting down the government "stupidity on steroids." Barbara Mikulski, a Senator from Maryland, spoke directly to the Speaker of the House.

"We call upon Speaker Boehner, let your members vote on the Senate legislation, "Yes or No." If you vote "Yes," we can move forward. If you vote, "No," let us take another look at it. Let us get the job done."

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday indicates 72 percent of American voters oppose the shutdown.

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act, nicknamed "Obamacare," went ahead as scheduled Tuesday. It is intended to provide health insurance coverage to millions of Americans who otherwise cannot afford or qualify for coverage.

Republican opponents of Obamacare say it forces people, including small businesses, to buy expensive insurance policies against their will, hurting the economy.

The government shutdown is not affecting Voice of America broadcasts, but it has closed Smithsonian museums, as well as services such as federal tax offices, help for veterans, and some food aid for the poor.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs