News / USA

US Congressional 'Supercommittee' Faces Deadline on Budget Deal

Cindy Saine

The battle over how to reduce the United States' $15 trillion debt is now being debated by a bipartisan congressional "supercommittee".  With a deadline for agreement just days away, the same ideological differences over taxes and social programs that have long divided Republicans and Democrats still appear to keep them apart.

The politically-divided U.S. Congress remains stuck over how to reign in the country's growing deficit and debt.

And so far, even a powerful, bipartisan supercommittee has failed in its mission to find $1.2 trillion in cuts ahead of a pre-set deadline. No deal by November 23 and automatic spending cuts to domestic programs and national defense kick in in 2013.

Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg says there's good reason for the deadline.

"There had to be something that really forced them to make a deal and so they set up this procedure of across the board cuts including defense cuts that they thought would be such a horrendous alternative that they would have to find agreement,"

The supercommittee appears to be in trouble for the same reason agreement has eluded the full Congress in the past.  Progressive Democrats fear the panel will slash social welfare programs they cherish.   

"I will be damned if we will balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children and the poor," said Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. "That’s wrong.”

And conservative Republicans fear the super committee will raise taxes - something many of them oppose.  

"The joint select committee has only one option: spending cuts and entitlement reform," Republican House Speaker John Boehner said.

Some Republicans now indicate they might be willing to include some tax increases, but wary Democrats say the ratio of spending cuts to tax hikes remains an obstacle.  

That's prompting some lawmakers from both parties to call on the supercommittee to "go big" and hammer out a bold deal of $4 trillion in cuts and tax increases.

"Failure can't be an option," said Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia. "The whole rest of the world is watching."

Some lawmakers say that if the supercommittee fails to find a solution to the impasse that will further shake the confidence of global markets and of many Americans that Congress can resolve the nation's fiscal challenges.

 

U.S.Debt

U.S.Deficit

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs