News / USA

US Days Away from Austerity on Autopilot

Senator Claire McCaskill,  Jan. 31, 2013.
Senator Claire McCaskill, Jan. 31, 2013.
Michael Bowman
The United States is days away from automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts that would impact everything from national security to air traffic controllers to food inspection.  Republicans and Democrats are criticizing the budget sequester, but they show no sign of forging a bipartisan deal to avert it.

Unless Congress acts, $85 billion will be trimmed from U.S. military and domestic spending this year, the first installment of $1.2 trillion of cuts over a 10-year period.

“I think it will kick in [take effect]," said Senator Claire McCaskill.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill says her party is in agreement with President Barack Obama that a substitute for the sequester should be enacted, comprised of targeted spending cuts and revenue increases. Speaking on the Fox News Sunday television program, McCaskill said the Senate will take up the measure.

“We will vote on something this week, and it will be a balanced approach. It will do both spending cuts and it will close some [tax] loopholes," she said.

Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, oppose any measure that increases tax revenue. Republican Senator Tom Coburn says the key to fixing America’s fiscal woes is to curb runaway federal spending.

“Look, the federal government is twice the size it was 11 years ago," said Coburn. "Sequestration is a terrible way to cut spending. It will be somewhat painful. But not cutting spending is going to be disastrous for our country.”

While championing spending cuts in general, some Republicans are uncomfortable with the sequester’s impact on U.S. armed forces. The state of Virginia is home to significant military installations, and its Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, spoke on CBS’ Face the Nation program.

“You have to cut, because we are in bad [fiscal] shape, almost $17 trillion in debt now," said McDonnell. "But do not put 50 percent of the cuts on defense, our men and women in uniform, while we are still fighting a war in Afghanistan. That is not the right way.”

Democrats counter that unless tax revenues increase, the only way to shield military spending while maintaining overall deficit reduction targets is to extract even greater cuts from domestic programs on which many Americans rely. An example of the impact of those cuts was provided by President Obama’s education secretary, Arne Duncan, who also appeared on Face the Nation.

“The vast majority of federal [education] money goes to help vulnerable children," said Duncan. "Whether it is children with special needs, poor children, it just means a lot more children will not get the kinds of services and opportunities they need. And as many as 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs.”

In this latest round of fiscal brinksmanship, a stalemate has emerged. Republicans dislike the sequester, but see it as preferable to the revenue hikes proposed by Democrats. Democrats also dislike the sequester, but are even more opposed to Republican cuts-only formulations that would subject domestic programs to even greater spending reductions. Unless the stalemate is broken in the coming days, the sequester will go into effect beginning Friday.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NVO from: USA
February 24, 2013 7:47 PM
The plan is to fully implement the New World Order, that will control EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE. The Regime just wont tell the duped public.DON'T BE DECEIVED.


by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
February 24, 2013 6:16 PM
The President Obama did not even consider the bipartisan committee's recommendations to balance the US budget. Obama is responsible for the sequestration since he did not even consider the bipartisan recommendations to balance the budget. The Democrats, Republicans and the President are against sequestration. They are the ones that created sequestration rule because none of them can find a common ground to selectively cut any public programs or government spending. Under these circumstances sequestration is the only solution. Any attempt to circumvent sequestration is a national disgrace.

Even though there is nothing in sequestration to raise taxes, in addition to cutting 1.2 trillion dollars in the next 10 years, it is necessary to raise more revenue by deleting all exemptions and loopholes, without increasing the tax rate. Just like the sequetration without discrimination, all tax exemptions and loopholes should be stopped without discrimination for a sound US economy. That will be the first step for a standard uniform tax rate for all citizens. May be a tax exemption for the poor and a tax deduction to all for the same amount of tax exemption for the poor. Simplification of the US tax codes is as important as the balancing of the budget.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid