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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs