News / USA

Snowstorm Puts Capitol Hill Legislative Action on Ice

Multimedia

Audio

The second major snowstorm to hit Washington, D.C in less than a week  has buried legislative action on Capitol Hill, with the House of Representatives canceling its voting schedule for the week, and the Senate postponing hearings and votes set for Wednesday.  Plans by Democratic lawmakers to quickly pass a jobs creation bill appear to be on ice.   
 
The House of Representatives has adjourned until February 22, when Congress returns after what was originally planned as a week-long break next week for the President's Day holiday.  House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer said flight cancellations have made it difficult for House members to return from their home districts to snowbound Washington.  The weather also caused the House Oversight Committee to postpone a hearing looking into the Toyota gas pedal problems.

The Senate is currently set to meet again on Thursday, if members and staffers can make their way to the Capitol building amid total snow accumulation from both storms of around 120 centimeters in some areas around the city.  

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, had hoped to pass a jobs-creation bill this week ahead of next week's President's Day recess. But he acknowledged late Tuesday that votes in the Senate are unlikely this week, saying members are also having trouble getting planes in and out.

Fifteen senators missed votes on Tuesday, and Democrats would probably not have the votes they need to pass a jobs bill.  Reid has expressed hope that Republicans will support the jobs creation bill, with unemployment at 9.7 percent nationwide.  Speaking after a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House Tuesday, Republican Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell said he is not sure yet because the jobs bill is not finished.

"The jobs package is a work in progress.  We want to make sure it is not just another stimulus bill that will not create any jobs, so it is just too early to tell what that package is going to look like.  And the weather is sort of interfering this week with our ability to do business as well," he said.

The severe weather is pushing back a packed congressional schedule that is already running behind because of the lengthy deliberations last year on sweeping health care reform legislation, which remains stalled.  At his bipartisan meeting with congressional leaders Tuesday, President Obama appealed to  members of both parties to work together to get things done, saying the jobs bill would be a good place to start.

"I think it it fair to say that the American people are frustrated with the lack of progress on some key issues, and although the parties are not going to agree on every single item there should be some areas where we can agree," he said.  "And we can get some things done even as we have vigorous debates on some of those issues that we don't agree on," said the president.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House Tuesday, Senate Minority leader McConnell said there are some issues both parties might be able to work together on, citing four the president mentioned his is State of the Union speech last month.

"He mentioned in the State of the Union his support for nuclear power, for offshore drilling, for clean coal technology and for trade agreements, presumably with Colombia, Panama and Korea, the ones that have been languishing now for a year-and-a-half or so, these are areas where I think that there could be pretty broad bipartisan support to go forward on a collaborative basis," he said.

Some lawmakers took the back-to-back snowstorms with a sense of humor.  Members from snowy states such as Alaska resolutely made their way into their offices on Monday, saying the weekend storm was not that bad.  South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint used the occasion to take a political shot at global warming advocate and former vice president Al Gore, writing on the social network site Twitter that it is going to keep snowing in (Washington) D.C. until Al Gore cries "uncle" [gives up.}

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs