News / USA

US Budget Cuts Begin, Political Stalemate Endures

Michael Bowman
The start of automatic U.S. spending cuts has not altered a stalemate between Democrats and Republicans on America’s fiscal future.  
 
Last week, the threat of across-the-board federal cuts brought President Barack Obama and congressional leaders no closer to a bipartisan budget deal.  Now, not even the start of the so-called sequester appears to be having any impact on Washington’s chronic political gridlock.
 
House Speaker John Boehner is holding firm to the Republican Party’s no-tax approach to deficit reduction.
 
“You cannot tax our way out of this problem.  We have got to deal with the spending side, just like every American family has to," he said. 
 
Boehner spoke on NBC’s Meet the Press program, in an interview that was taped after Friday’s White House meeting that yielded no hints of progress between the president and congressional leaders.  
 
The speaker says Republicans are not blind to the consequences of the sequester, but determined to press ahead with deficit reduction in the face of what they see as Democratic dithering and intransigence.
 
“I am concerned about its [the sequester’s] impact on our economy and its impact on our military.  Listen, we have known about this problem for 16 months - we have known the sequester was coming.  Where was the president’s plan?  Why did they [Democrats] not pass something?  And here we are, beyond the 11th hour, looking at each other without having acted," he said. 
 
Democrats insist there is a better path to deficit reduction, a balance of targeted spending cuts, government reforms, and higher revenues.  Senator Richard Durbin appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation program.
 
“The notion of putting everything on the table: revenue, spending cuts, entitlement reform.  If we did that, we would avoid these manufactured crises like the one we are in right now," he said. 
 
President Obama has warned that the sequester will inflict real pain and inconvenience on the American people. The administration appears to be betting an outcry from the public will cause Republicans to soften their no-tax stance so a deal can be struck.
 
White House economic adviser Gene Sperling spoke on ABC’s This Week program.
 
“I believe that more Republican colleagues who are concerned about this harm to their constituents will choose bipartisan compromise on revenue.  They will choose bipartisan compromise over what is an ideological position that every single penny of deficit reduction going forward must be on the middle class, or seniors [retirees], our children," he said. 
 
Polls show more Americans fault Republicans than Democrats for America’s fiscal stalemate.
 
The sequester is a budget cutback, not a government shutdown.  Federal services will continue at a reduced pace.  What remains to be seen is how severe the actual effects prove to be, and how widespread and passionate a reaction they provoke.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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