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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs