News / USA

US House Passes Massive Spending Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (R) speaks as House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (L) listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, December 16, 2011.
U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (R) speaks as House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (L) listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, December 16, 2011.
Cindy Saine

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a massive $1 trillion dollar spending bill to fund the federal government until next October, averting a partial government shutdown just hours before current funding was set to expire.  The U.S. Senate is also expected to pass the spending legislation Saturday, and Senate leaders from both major parties have assured Americans there will be no government shutdown.

After a roller-coaster week of tension and partisan bickering between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives passed a sweeping funding bill with solid bipartisan support - 296 lawmakers voted for it and 121 voted against it.  Democratic Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland appealed to lawmakers to vote for the bill.

“And I therefore urge all my colleagues to support this bill," said Hoyer. "Yes, it will keep government open, which is essential.  But it will also do the most fundamental job that this Congress has to do every year, and that is to fund appropriately the priorities that this Congress puts before the country.”

The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, said that both sides had worked together.

“This will mark for the second year in a row that we will spend less money on the operation of our government - two consecutive years that we can cut spending," said Boehner. "It also takes steps in this bill to stop some of the excessive regulations that are harming our economy. And for the first time in modern history, there are no earmarks [legislation that requires funding on specific projects] in this bill.”

In the Democratic-controlled Senate, Republican Minority leader Mitch McConnell offered assurances that a government shutdown would be averted.

“I think everybody should be reassured that’s not going to happen, the conference report has been signed and we’re moving toward completing the basic work of government through next September 30th very shortly," said McConnell.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that the Obama administration would extend the current government funding deadline for 24 hours if one chamber of Congress passes a spending bill and it is presumed that the other chamber is also going to pass it.

A shutdown would have forced government agencies to halt non-essential operations, and put tens of thousands federal employees on unpaid furlough.  This is the fourth time this year that Congress has come within hours of either a potential government shutdown or a potential default on its debts.

The spending bill will fund key domestic government agencies and the war in Afghanistan.  It imposes restrictions on U.S. foreign aid to Egypt, Pakistan and the Palestinian authority, but avoids deep cuts in foreign assistance that some Republicans had wanted.

On Saturday, Senate leaders are also expected to vote on extending the payroll tax cuts for American workers. They reached an agreement on a measure late Friday. However, the extension is only for two months, creating yet more economic uncertainty among Americans.  President Barack Obama had pushed for a one-year payroll tax cut extension.

The House of Representatives could take up the payroll tax issue Monday.

President Obama pressed Congress to extend the cuts, saying that otherwise, 160 million Americans would face a tax increase next year at a time when they can least afford it.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid