News / USA

US Congress Decides 2011 Federal Budget

House Speaker John Boehner (file photo)
House Speaker John Boehner (file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a spending bill to fund the federal government through September.  The last-minute agreement was reached nearly a week ago after intense negotiations between the White House and Congress, slashing $38.5 billion in spending and averting a government shutdown.  The House approved the measure on Thursday and the Senate is expected to vote on the bill within a few hours.  

House lawmakers passed the 2011 funding bill by a vote of 260 to 167, after debate in which Republicans accused Democrats of runaway government spending, and Democrats accused Republicans of slashing funding for much-needed programs.

House Speaker John Boehner said the agreement is not perfect, but he called it a good start in the long process of reducing federal spending.

"What this bill does, it stops the bleeding," said Boehner. "It halts the spending binge and starts us moving back in the right direction.  Does it cut enough?  No.  Do I wish it cut more?  Absolutely.  And do we need to cut more?  Absolutely."

Boehner said Republicans have changed the debate and tone in Washington during their first 100 days as the majority party in the House by focusing on cutting federal spending, including in the 2011 budget.

"We are cutting $38.5 billion of money that has already been authorized and appropriated," he said. "And anybody that does not believe this money would not be spent if we do not act is kidding themselves because this is real money and these are real cuts."

Boehner said the cuts are the biggest package of non-defense spending reductions in history.  He said the Senate Budget Committee expects that during the next decade, it will save $315 billion.

The bill is a compromise.  Republicans had sought broader cuts, while Democrats had wanted fewer spending reductions.

Democrats had harsh words for Republicans.  House Minority Leader, Democrat Nancy Pelosi accused Republicans of not creating a single job or laying out a jobs agenda, saying that Republican policies will hurt ordinary Americans and women, and benefit oil companies and the rich.

Pelosi said she and her Democratic Party colleagues in the House were kept out of the negotiations on the budget bill and that lawmakers have an obligation to the American people to ensure the government remains open.

"It was evident that the Republicans in the House, the Democrats in the Senate were the two majorities," said Pelosi. "They were the ones who had the votes, so they had the strength to negotiate and the president presided over that.  I feel no ownership of that or any responsibility to it, except that we do not want to shut down government."

The debate on federal spending is dominating Washington.  President Barack Obama on Wednesday outlined his strategy to cut $4 trillion from the nation's deficit during the next 12 years.  He called for shared sacrifice and said the country cannot afford to maintain tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that were enacted by his predecessor, George W. Bush.  

On Friday, House lawmakers are expected to vote on a Republican-sponsored budget plan for 2012 that the majority party says makes smart cuts that will stimulate the economy, while saving nearly bankrupt social programs.  

But Democrats are opposed to the measure, saying the plan from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan cuts aid programs for senior citizens and low-income Americans.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid