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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid