News / USA

    Congress Misses Fiscal Cliff Deadline, Possible Deal Reached in Senate

    Vice President Joe Biden, center, with Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, head to a Senate Democratic caucus meeting about the fiscal cliff, on Capitol Hill Monday, Dec. 31, 2012 in Washington.
    Vice President Joe Biden, center, with Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, head to a Senate Democratic caucus meeting about the fiscal cliff, on Capitol Hill Monday, Dec. 31, 2012 in Washington.
    Cindy Saine
    White House and Senate Democratic officials say they have reached a deal with congressional Republicans after two days of marathon negotiations aimed at averting the so-called "fiscal cliff" that would institute tax hikes at the beginning of the year.

    Vice President Joe Biden met with Senate Democrats at the Capitol late Monday as the news of a possible deal emerged.

    Reports say the deal would delay the fiscal cliff deadline by two months and extend Bush-era tax cuts for households making less than $450,000.

    The Senate called a recess late Monday, virtually ensuring no vote before the midnight deadline to avert the fiscal cliff. House members earlier left the Capitol without taking any action. They planned to reconvene at noon Washington time on Tuesday.

    Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said earlier that members of both parties had agreed on all tax issues. At the White House, President Barack Obama said negotiators still had work to do to reach an accord on whether to delay significant, mandated government spending cuts. Analysts say that absent a compromise, the $500 billion in austerity measures eventually could plunge the U.S. economy into another recession.

    Lawmakers and analysts say there is plenty of blame to go around for a situation that frustrates ordinary Americans.

    Retiring Republican Congressman Steven LaTourette of Ohio said he still believes the U.S. system of government is the best in the world, but he faulted all sides for not trying to find common ground.

    "Because no one, from the White House to either house of Congress has the political courage to do what everybody in town knows needs to be done, and that is to come up with a big deal that actually solves the nation's debt problem, supplies sufficient revenues to operate the government, while at the same time trimming spending," he said.

    Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Wisconsin said the deal might have looked better to Democrats under the pressure of the midnight deadline than it will look later after taxes automatically go up on everyone. "And so, it may not be such a great deal, if they force us over the cliff.  So we will have to wait and see," she said.

    Steve Dennis of Roll Call congressional news agency says tax hikes have been the major stumbling block. "They have had two years to deal with this.  I think the reality is that the Republican leadership had to be seen by their members and by Republicans and outside groups as doing absolutely everything they could, up until the end, to block any tax increase," he said.

    New York resident Sarah Cunningham is frustrated by Congress' repeated inability to tackle problems. "I can't for the life of me figure out why they can't make things work. It doesn't make a benefit to anyone. It seems like a family squabbling within itself rather than getting to the real point," she said.

    Virginia resident Jay Miller believes the legislation will have to be taken up by the new Congress, which will be sworn in January 3.

    "There is more interest in having things go over the cliff than not. And with the new Congress being sworn in later this week, it will have to be sorted out then," he said.

    Economists have warned that failure to avert the combination of tax hikes and spending cuts could plunge the U.S. back into recession.  But most experts say that if Congress is able to take action quickly, any potential damage would be minimized, especially if it comes before the stock markets reopen after the New Year's Day holiday.

     

     

    VIDEO: Related report by Michael Bowman 
    United States Careens Towards Fiscal Cliffi
    X
    December 31, 2012 1:46 PM
    U.S. lawmakers remain unable to agree on a deficit-reduction package, one day before severe austerity measures automatically take effect. VOA Senate correspondent Michael Bowman reports that hopes of a deal continue to dwindle as the hours tick down to a New Year’s Eve deadline for averting across-the-board tax hikes and deep spending cuts known as the “fiscal cliff."

    You May Like

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ian from: USA
    January 01, 2013 2:50 PM
    Is any of these bozos love this country & its people enough to get thing done properly .
    Unlike these bozos, If I or any working people in the USA leave our work places purposedly without things get done before dead line, the companies will show us the doors.

    by: riano baggy from: indonesia
    December 31, 2012 8:27 PM
    Please gi-ve best gift for us people,s in 2013 with smart decision

    by: ACitizen from: TN
    December 31, 2012 4:49 PM
    Will anyone have time to READ the bill before voting on it???

    by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
    December 31, 2012 2:15 PM
    Who exactly has run up the said debt? Is it bankers?
    If it is owed to China why pay them?
    The American people must be put first.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.