News / USA

    Congress Appears Set to Trigger US Government Shutdown in Hours

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,walks to a Senate Democratic caucus to discuss the ongoing budget fight, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,walks to a Senate Democratic caucus to discuss the ongoing budget fight, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
    Cindy Saine
    The United States appears to be on the verge of a partial government shutdown, unless the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House can agree on a last-minute measure to extend federal funding authority past midnight.  The Senate again rejected a House measure that ties the funding bill to a measure to delay implementation of President Barack Obama's signature health care law.  

    In the latest steps in a bitter budget battle, the U.S. Senate killed the funding measure sent over by the House, as Senate Majority Harry Reid had warned it would, because of the amendments pushed by House Republicans that seek to derail the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Leader Reid issued a plea to House Speaker John Boehner to let the House vote on a straightforward, clean measure to just keep the government running.

    "Without being too dramatic about this, the fate of the country depends on the House being able to vote, the House, all members of the House of Representatives. I hope that John Boehner makes a responsible decision, one that is good for the country," said Reid.

    House Republicans huddled in the basement to plan their strategy, and came out announcing that they once again will vote on another spending bill that would delay parts of the heath care law.  House Speaker Boehner told reporters Republicans are holding firm to their insistence on slowing down Obamacare.

    "We believe that everyone should be treated fairly. So we’re going to move here in the next several hours to take the Senate bill, add to it a one-year delay of the individual mandate on the American people... and get rid of the exemption for members of Congress. It’s a matter of fairness for all Americans," said Boehner.

    The latest House bill calls for a one-year delay in the requirement that all Americans purchase health insurance, or face a fine, known as the individual mandate.  It also would cancel health insurance subsidies for members of Congress and their staff, the president and administration appointees.

    The health care law, backed by Democrats, would provide financial assistance to those unable to purchase the insurance.  Democrats point out that the law was passed more than three years ago, and that President Obama was re-elected even though his opponent ran on a platform of repealing Obamacare.  They also say it will allow millions of Americans to purchase health care for the first time.

    A core group of conservative Republicans is staunchly opposed to the the health care law, saying it will hurt the economy and interfere in Americans' private decisions.  President Obama spoke to the country late Monday, saying he is always willing to work with Republicans, but he called on those House Republicans to give in.

    "But one faction of one party, in one house of Congress, in one branch of government, does not get to shut down the government just to re-fight the results of an election," said President Obama.

    Analyst Larry Sabato said the budget brinksmanship is a contrived crisis that makes America look silly.

    "The United States looks as though it cannot run its own government, that basic functions of government cannot continue under the current political alignment.  It certainly undermines trust and faith in the United States, and it could get worse with raising the debt limit," said Sabato.

    This drama may be the prelude to another one on raising the debt ceiling, which the U.S. Treasury says needs to happen by October 17.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    September 30, 2013 5:41 PM
    Two issues are potentially in need of improvement on the Obamacare program, one is that the lowest plan should cover a much greater percentage of the costs, potentially 85% or even higher. The other serious drawback, is that just as there are low income individuals, recognition needs to be given to the fact that there are/must be low net income businesses, and they too should get help with covering their workforce, so that they do not end up doing all kinds of gymnastics to attempt shedding the healthcare costs, or even closing down. Living in a country that covers all individuals, it is a tremendous help, benefit, and one less issue that the individual citizen needs to worry about in his or her daily life.

    by: Chris
    September 30, 2013 5:30 PM
    Harry Reid????

    by: Ramnarayan from: Florida, USA
    September 30, 2013 4:41 PM
    The Senate and the congress continue to play this game every few months. Does not seem to matter how it affects all of us, our economy and for that matter the rest of the world's economy which is tied to ours. Is it just an anti Obama feeling that the tea party and the rest of the republicans cant get over? The healthcare act was approved by the US supreme court, the election mandate, what do the republicans want? Cant they think of the chain reaction this sets every few months? Can't help but wonder who elected these idiots? The bottom line which is sad is that none of the republicans seem to care about the average people. Unless of course it has something to do with national security. What a sham these elected representatives are inflicting on the country. People who re elect them should think again when the time comes. The Tea party is set to ruin the Country.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.