News / USA

Failure Likely Imminent for US Deficit Panel

Members of the U.S. Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction attend a hearing on Capitol Hill (File)
Members of the U.S. Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction attend a hearing on Capitol Hill (File)
Cindy Saine

With only hours to go before an interim deadline, a special congressional committee appears set to announce its failure to reach agreement on ways to cut the U.S. deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers already have begun to blame each other for the likely failure of the "supercommittee" to reach a deal.

The U.S. Capitol was largely quiet Monday, with most lawmakers already back in their home districts for the coming Thanksgiving holiday. But a handful of supercommittee members worked in a last-ditch effort to reach an agreement to cut the deficit. Democrat Senator John Kerry said there is still hope, but that there has to be real compromise.

"It is the insistence on extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which the vast majority of Americans do not think we should do," he told Bloomberg news, blaming Republicans for the supercommittee's failure so far.

What Happens if the supercommittee fails?


    - $1.2 billion in cuts split equally between defense and non-defense spending are triggered.

    - Estimated at $55 billion in each type of spending per year from 2013 through 2021.

    - Social Security, Medicare, and other programs exempt from cuts.

    - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warns cuts could leave U.S. military with its smallest ground force since 1940s.

    -The automatic spending reductions are known as "sequestration."

Ideological differences have kept Republicans and Democrats from agreeing on how to rein in the country's budget deficits for much of the past year. Democrats refuse to accept big cuts to the social welfare programs for the poor and the elderly, and Republicans refuse the tax increases for the wealthiest Americans that Democrats are pushing.

Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, who is not a member of the supercommittee, told Bloomberg he had never held high hopes for the panel, which largely met in secret, to tackle the crucial issue of the country's debt.

"I think what Congress should do is fulfill its responsibility, to publicly, openly debate these serious issues, the most incredible issue of our time," said Sessions.

The committee was created in August when the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives were unable to resolve a dispute on raising the U.S. debt ceiling. The government came within hours of being unable to pay its debts and the country's credit rating was downgraded for the first time in history.

President Barack Obama has not been involved in the supercommittee's efforts but has called on the panel to make tough choices and "do its job." In a written statement Monday, Republican House Speaker John Boehner blamed President Obama and Democrats for insisting on tax hikes on what Boehner called America's "job creators."

With the likely collapse of the U.S. debt talks and continuing concerns about the European debt crisis, world stock markets fell Monday. When Congress returns after its recess, there is likely to be more of each side blaming the other. Political analysts say it may be up to American voters to decide next year whether they want to focus on tax increases or cuts to social programs to reduce the deficit.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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