News / USA

US Senate Blocks Republican-Backed Debt Plan

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to the media on U.S. budget talks next to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) on Capitol Hill in Washington (file photo)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to the media on U.S. budget talks next to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) on Capitol Hill in Washington (file photo)

The Democratic Party-controlled U.S. Senate has blocked a plan passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to cut the country's budget and raise its debt ceiling. The vote Friday puts the emphasis on talks between the White House and top lawmakers to find a deal to raise the debt ceiling before a deadline on August 2.

A simple majority was needed to table, or kill, further consideration of the bill. The vote was 51 to 46.

Just one hour of comments were allowed before the vote took place.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who had called the House bill one of the worst he has ever seen, said it was now urgent to look for a feasible solution.

"There is simply no more time to waste debating and voting on measures that have no hopes of becoming law. We have no more time to waste playing partisan games," said Reid. "As the saying goes, indecision becomes decision with time. Our time is running out before this gridlock, this refusal by the other side to move even an inch toward compromise becomes a decision to default on our debt."

In the short time they had to speak, Republicans on the Senate floor all backed the "Cut, Cap and Balance Act." It would have raised the debt limit by $2.4 trillion on the condition that Congress send a constitutional balanced budget amendment to the states for ratification and approve trillions in long-term spending cuts.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a news conference on Capitol Hill (File)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a news conference on Capitol Hill (File)

The Senate minority leader, Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, accused Democrats of being in a state of denial.

"Too many Democrats refuse to admit that Washington has a spending problem. That is why Republicans have insisted that we focus on spending in this debate," McConnell said. "The reason we have got a $14 trillion debt is because no matter how much money Washington has it always spends more."

The comments highlighted the sharp divisions between the two parties, as negotiations to find a deal stumble along.

Democrats said the law proposed by the House would have turned a recession into a depression. They said it would cut, cap and kill social spending programs and defend tax havens. They accused former Republican President George W. Bush of creating the deficit problem by paying for the Iraq war with tax cuts. They also warned against any deal that would only favor wealthy Americans.

Republicans accused Democratic senators of lacking leadership since they said they have not proposed their own plan. They took offense that the act had been blocked with a dismissal vote, rather than a full debate and work on amendments. They accused Democratic President Barack Obama of pretending to be a fiscal moderate in recent days, but coming short of that ideal in his actions.

Senior aides to lawmakers said both sides are now searching for what they called a magic formula to avoid a debt default, with the White House  at the center of efforts to find a compromise.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs