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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid