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

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs