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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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