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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid