News / USA

    US Government Shutdown Imminent

    The sun begins to set against the Capitol dome as the budget battle continues, Sept. 30, 2013 in Washington.
    The sun begins to set against the Capitol dome as the budget battle continues, Sept. 30, 2013 in Washington.
    Michael Bowman
    With hours to go before a threatened U.S. government shutdown begins, Congress remains unable to agree on a bill to continue federal operations. The Republican-led House of Representatives continues to pass funding bills with measures attacking President Barack Obama’s signature health care law - and the Democratic-controlled Senate continues to dismiss them.

    On the eve of a partial idling of the U.S. government, a legislative table tennis match continued on Capitol Hill. For a second time in three days, the Senate rejected a House bill that would extend federal spending authority, but would disrupt the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

    The House responded hours later by passing a third spending bill with provisions to undermine Obamacare.

    Speaker John Boehner said Republicans want to delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and assure uniform application of the law.

    “This is a matter of funding the government and providing fairness to the American people,” he said.

    Senate Democrats continue to insist they will block any bill that goes beyond funding the U.S. government.

    “I have a very simple message for John Boehner: stop trying to force a government shutdown,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid.

    Democrats say they will not allow Republicans to insert partisan agenda items into routine funding bills.

    “If you give in to these tactics on any particular issue, it encourages them to happen again and again and again,” said Senator Charles Schumer.

    But Republicans note that they already have dropped demands to repeal or defund Obamacare, and say they are now seeking similar concessions from President Obama and Democrats. Senator John Cornyn blasted the president’s refusal to negotiate on the Affordable Care Act.

    “He [Obama] will not talk to the speaker of the House of Representatives or the Republican leader of the U.S. Senate," he said. "He will not talk to them, but he will negotiate with the Iranian president. He seems absolutely allergic to doing his job.”

    At the White House, President Obama noted that he won reelection last year while defending Obamacare. The president accused Republican lawmakers of making unreasonable demands and abandoning their responsibility to help govern.

    “One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government does not get to shut down the entire government just to re-fight the results of an election," he said. "Keeping the people’s government open is not a concession to me. It is our basic responsibility.”

    The Senate is expected to once again reject the new House spending bill. Asked if the House would vote on a Senate bill that simply extends government funding with no other provisions attached, Speaker Boehner had a terse reply: “That is not going to happen.”

    Unless and until both houses of Congress agree on a spending bill that President Obama signs into law, a partial halt in federal operations begins Tuesday.

    You May Like

    US Watching as North Korea Opens Biggest Political Meeting in Decades

    As Workers' Party Congress opens, Washington anticipating possibility of another missile launch or nuclear test as top officials gather

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora