News / USA

US Debt Drama Engulfs Both Houses of Congress

US Debt Drama Engulfs Both Houses of Congress
US Debt Drama Engulfs Both Houses of Congress

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday on a Republican plan to trim government spending and raise the federal borrowing limit. The vote comes days before a deadline to avert a possible default on U.S. debt obligations that President Barack Obama says would trigger financial “Armageddon.” Regardless of how the House votes, the bill is considered dead-on-arrival in the upper chamber.

At a time when political gridlock threatens to cast the United States into financial ruin, a morning prayer offered by Senate Chaplain Barry Black seemed particularly on-point:

“Lord, you have been our God from the beginning. Save us from ourselves,” Prayed Black.

But if political flexibility and bipartisanship are key to resolving the debt stand-off engulfing Washington, the chaplain’s words appeared to fall on deaf ears.

Even before the House cast a single vote on Republican Speaker John Boehner’s plan tying a two-stage debt ceiling increase to substantial spending cuts, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pronounced the bill a lost cause in the Democratically-controlled upper chamber.

“Republicans cannot get the short-term band-aid they will vote on in the House today. It will not get one Democratic vote in the Senate,” said Reid.

Late Wednesday, Senate Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Boehner informing him of their intention to defeat the House bill if it should come to the Senate.

Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is baffled by the Democratic position.

“It is inconceivable to me that they would block the only bill that could get through the House of Representatives and prevent a default right now. Inconceivable,” McConnell said.

Democrats are rallying behind an alternative proposal by Senator Reid. His plan also calls for significant spending cuts, but would authorize a single increase in federal borrowing big enough to assure government solvency through next year’s national elections. The Boehner plan would force Washington to return to debt negotiations in another six months.

Reid says his plan would spare the nation from another painful political fight over government finances months from now. He also argues that his plan bends to Republican demands for deep spending cuts without tax increases, and therefore constitutes a real compromise deserving of Republican support.

Reid had a message for Republican lawmakers.

“Legislation is the art of compromise, and they need to learn that. There are things that either side cannot get. Accept that, and move on,” Reid said.

Republicans counter that Reid’s proposal is driven more by the political calendar than an honest desire to put America’s fiscal house in order. Just as the Boehner plan is considered dead-on-arrival in the Senate, so too is the Reid plan in the House of Representatives. Senator McConnell says it is Democrats who face a critical choice:

“Guaranteed default, or a bill that takes the specter of default off the table while giving us another opportunity to address the very deficits and debts that caused this crisis in the first place. Senate Democrats are playing with fire here,” said McConnell.

The White House has said President Obama would consider a stop-gap debt ceiling increase to give Congress additional time to act, but only if a bipartisan deal has been hammered out by August 2. Beyond that date, the U.S. government will have exhausted its ability to borrow money. Given a $1.5 trillion federal budget deficit, the government will not have enough funds to cover spending commitments while also servicing a $14.3 trillion national debt.

You May Like

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Nigerian Islamic School Tries to Combat Boko Haram

Kaduna school headmaster teaches his students that what militants are doing is are doing is 'a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion' More

University Trains Students to Advocate for Deaf People Worldwide

Program prepares graduates to advocate internationally for access to education, jobs for people with disabilities 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid