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

Photogallery Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins More

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.
Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid