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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora