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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid