News / USA

US Congress Decides 2011 Federal Budget

House Speaker John Boehner (file photo)
House Speaker John Boehner (file photo)

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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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