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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid