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)
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid