News / USA

US Budget Stalemate Continues

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., right, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., left, arrive to vote on the spending bill in the Senate at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 9, 2011.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., right, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., left, arrive to vote on the spending bill in the Senate at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 9, 2011.
Michael Bowman

A partisan stalemate over U.S. federal spending continues, after the Senate voted down both Republican and Democratic bills to fund the government for the next six months. The votes came nine days before the government’s authority to spend money expires, resurrecting the specter of a shutdown of many federal operations.

The Republican bill, already approved by the House of Representatives, would have slashed current spending by about $60 billion - what Republicans called a first step towards eliminating America’s trillion-dollar federal deficit. Democrats countered with a bill containing more modest cuts in domestic non-security spending. As had been predicted for days, neither measure got 50-percent backing, much less the three-fifths support needed to advance.

Republicans insisted deep spending cuts are needed to slow the expansion of a $14 trillion national debt and save the nation from fiscal ruin. Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska said, "The interest payments on our debt will increase to almost $1 trillion by 2020 [on thecurrent fiscal path]. The American people are absolutely appalled at trillion-dollar annual deficits. Just imagine their horror at trillion-dollar annual interest payments."

Democrats countered that proposed Republican cuts in education, infrastructure projects, and numerous federal programs are short-sighted and would strangle America’s fledgling economic recovery.

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri said, "It is completely wrong that we would do massive, massive cuts right now with our economy in the position that it is. That would cause just as big a crisis as our failure to deal with our long term structural debt."

With Congress deadlocked on current-year spending, let alone planning for next year, some senators blasted both parties for putting forth bills that had little chance of passing.  West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin said, "Why are we engaging in this political theater? Why are we voting on partisan proposals that we know will fail? That we know don’t balance our nation’s priorities with the need to get our fiscal house in order?"

Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky voted against both bills, saying neither seriously addresses America’s debt problem. "Both alternatives [bills] are inadequate. I don’t think either side recognizes the enormity of the problem or the imminence of the problem," he said.

Several senators urged greater White House involvement in budget negotiations. Vice President Joseph Biden met with congressional leaders of both parties for budget talks last week. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the president wants to find common ground to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, with substantial spending cuts.

Republican House Speak John Boehner  issued a statement saying his party will remain focused on reducing federal spending.

Without a budget deal or another temporary funding extension, the federal government’s spending authority runs out next Friday.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid