News / USA

Tea Party Drives Republican Hardline on Government Funding

Tea Party Drives Republican Hard Line on Government Fundingi
X
October 05, 2013 1:57 PM
A one-page letter - signed by almost one-fifth of the legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives - was a factor leading to a political stalemate and the U.S. government shutdown. Congress and the President cannot agree on continuing to fund the government, with the Republicans determined to undermine the President’s signature healthcare law. As VOA’s Carolyn Presutti tells us, some powerful Republicans say they are bowing to the wishes of their constituents.
A one-page letter - signed by almost one-fifth of the legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives - was a factor leading to a political stalemate and the U.S. government shutdown. Congress and President Barack Obama cannot agree on continuing to fund the government, with the Republicans determined to undermine the president’s signature health care law.  Some powerful Republicans say they are bowing to the wishes of their constituents.

Outside the Capitol, Washington, D.C. is quiet.  Inside, talk is tough. Democrats support the president.

“What have we come to here? We have the best country in the world and it’s time we start running it again,” asked Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind).

“The House has compromised over and over and over again," insisted Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky).

Ultra-conservative

Republican Congressman Barr belongs to the ultra-conservative arm called the Tea Party.  It arrived on the political scene in 2009.  The movement is now a force within the party.

Eighty members (a third of House Republicans, including Barr) signed a letter connecting a repeal of health care reform to any resolution that keeps the government running.  

Barr accused Democrats of pushing through the health care reform act in 2010 when they had a majority in both houses of Congress, and said his Kentucky constituents did’t like it.

“I cannot ignore the deluge of calls and conversations and communications that I’m getting from constituents talking about Obamacare hurting them, their businesses and their families,” he said.

Anti-Obama

According to the Cook Political Report, most of the 80 Republicans come from districts that voted unlike most of the country.  For example, President Obama only received 38 percent of the vote in Barr’s district.  And while voters nationwide are looking more diverse, the Cook Report said Republican districts are getting whiter.

Moderate Republicans agree that Obamacare should be diminished but oppose the tactics of the Tea Party - like shutting down the government.  Analysts said they were looking over their shoulder, afraid of a Tea Party challenger, if they didn't go along. 

“In the case of Republicans looking over their right shoulders, they may be safe in their districts as Republicans if they were to face a Democrat in an election, but they may not be safe from a primary challenge,” explained John Fortier, of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Blame game

Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats accuse each other of refusing to compromise. 

"All we are asking for is to sit down and have a discussion," insisted House Speaker John Boehner.

"Mr. Speaker, You shut down the federal government. But now what?” asked said Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii).

 “It’s part of our polarized world," remarked Fortier. "The extent that we have divided government.  Our parties differ a lot.  It’s likely that part of this is the new normal.”

So for now, the factions wait to see which side blinks first.  Until then, the federal government remains shut down until further notice.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: MadMc44 from: Maine
October 05, 2013 1:30 PM
I'm happy to hear all Govt. employees will be reimbursed for the days lost as they don't have a dog in the fight. As I see it the only ones that really care are the Tea Party Repubs. Hopefully they are giving up their pay and not for a charitable deduction on their taxes.
The Affordable Care Act is law boys and girls get over it and get back to work or resign and go home.
     

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More