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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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