News / USA

    Automatic US Budget Cuts to Begin Friday

    Members of Congress Unable to Forestall Automatic Spending Cutsi
    X
    March 01, 2013 1:15 AM
    Automatic U.S. government spending cuts are beginning [today/Friday] amid continued political gridlock in Washington -- which is preventing the adoption of less-painful paths to deficit reduction. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, last-ditch alternatives to the sequester were defeated in the Senate, and future budget negotiations will go forward with across-the-board austerity already in place.
    Members of Congress Unable to Forestall Automatic Spending Cuts
    Michael Bowman
    Automatic U.S. government spending cuts are set to kick in amid continued political gridlock as last-ditch alternatives to the so-called "sequester" were defeated in the Senate.
     
    “Can we not at least come to some agreement to prevent this," asked Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), echoing fellow U.S. lawmakers who seemed stunned by their own inability to act in response to the imminent sequester.
     
    The answer for now: no.
     
    Democrats proposed replacing the sequester’s cuts-only approach with a mix of targeted spending reductions and higher tax revenues, but Republicans objected.
     
    “Look, the American people simply will not accept replacing spending cuts agreed to by both parties with tax hikes," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
     
    Republicans proposed maintaining the total amount of spending cuts — $85 billion this year — but giving President Obama flexibility in implementing them, prompting objections from Democrats.
     
    “Why would they — the Republicans  — part of the legislative branch of government, cede more power to the White House?" asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) "Republicans should give Congress true flexibility. Flexibility to cut wasteful subsidies, flexibility to close unnecessary tax loopholes, and flexibility to ask the richest of the rich to contribute a little bit more.”
     
    While blocking alternatives to the sequester, senators also took turns blasting it.
     
    “God, if we cannot do better than that, all of us should be fired," said Republican Lindsey Graham (R-SC), decrying cuts to the military budget. "Fire the politicians, keep the soldiers."
     
    Democrat Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) denounced the idea of implementing austerity while the economy remains weak.
     
    “Cutting spending at this moment in time means cutting jobs at this moment in time, which means fewer people paying income taxes and more people drawing government benefits," he said. "That is not a recipe for economic expansion.”
     
    Next up is a meeting Friday between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders. White House spokesman Jay Carney is making no prediction of a breakthrough
     
    “There are no preconditions to a meeting like this," Carney said. "This is a meeting with the president … any topic is up for discussion if one member of the group decides he or she wants to broach it.”
     
    Obama, who has implored Congress to act, has repeatedly warned the sequester will hobble critical government functions, causing harm, pain and inconveniences. Senator McConnell, who will be at the White House meeting, derided the president’s warnings.
     
    “Instead of directing his secretaries to trim waste in their departments, he is going after first responders, teachers, and almost any other sympathetic constituency you can think of … all to force Americans to accept higher taxes," McConnell said. "And he will claim his hands are tied, and somehow it will be everybody’s fault but his. Nonsense.”
     
    Once the sequester takes hold, the American people will likely weigh in on its effects — quite possibly assigning blame. Leaders on both sides of the aisle hope blame falls on the other party.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jacob from: United States
    March 03, 2013 8:30 PM
    Next we cut 8 trillion dollars. Then we can get this Greece-bound nation on the right track. Otherwise, I am moving to Canada and then to Russia/China.

    Debtor nations can't sustain themselves on more debt. Keynesian nonsense doesn't create wealth.

    by: dwight from: dc
    March 01, 2013 12:02 AM
    christopher: what a retarded post. the key to "wealth" is a free economy which lets people live how they want, and buy and trade what they. want. taking people's property (aka taxes) does not "create wealth". people like you need to learn to mind your own business and stop interfering with other people's lives in an attempt to better your own.

    by: Done Deal from: USA
    February 28, 2013 10:25 PM
    While one side blames the other, why are not the Global Elites who PLANNED all of this questioned???? The Rockefellers, The Bilderbergs, The Clintons......................The Global Elites. IT WAS ALL PLANNED! Wake up to the FACTS.

    by: Planned from: USA
    February 28, 2013 10:18 PM
    Wake up people! This was all PLANNED by the Regime, so that the rank&file will have to lay down like lambs to the Regime. "The Regime will protect you, the Regime will protect you", their next plan is to microchip all people by 2017, a plan in force by the Global Elites, The Rockefellers, The Clintons, and the Bilderbergs..... the Elites.....Eugenics is their plan too. Wake up to reality.

    by: hewhoasks from: Wisconsin
    February 28, 2013 7:15 PM
    One rejected, one filibustered.

    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    February 28, 2013 6:56 PM
    The Republican proposal, to give power to the discretion of the President to budget cuts as per the sequestration requirements, was defeated. The Democratic proposal tried to mix the sequestion budget cuts with tax hikes, mixing oranges and apples, also failed. Both were defeated and it is a win for the public but not to the politicians or the President. The sequestration budget cuts should involve salary cut of the members of the Congress, Senate and the President, President's discretionary spending and stop the overseas financial and military assistance to countries like Egypt and Pakistan.

    by: Christopher Tracy
    February 28, 2013 6:50 PM
    For a party that claims to be business-friendly, the GOP has no clue on how to create wealth. Rich people get that way by watching expenses and making wise investments. No one cuts their way to prosperity. One must invest. According to the GOP, there's no such thing as a wise government investment).

    Why are Democrats sounding so logical and fiscally sophisticated? Maybe it has to do with the fact they are the only party in 50 years to have created a budget surplus (Clinton 1999 for you skeptics). Or maybe it's all relative. Compared to this crop of Republicans, anybody who knows math is a financial wizard.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora