News / USA

US Lawmakers Begin Another Search for Budget Deal

FILE - A view of the U.S. Capitol building is shown at dusk in Washington, October 2013.
FILE - A view of the U.S. Capitol building is shown at dusk in Washington, October 2013.
Michael Bowman
A select group of U.S. lawmakers from both political parties and both houses of Congress began work Wednesday to end a budget stalemate that helped provoke a partial government shutdown earlier this month. The budget conference has until mid-December to reach a fiscal accord - weeks before federal spending authority expires once again.

Over the next six weeks, the budget conference will strive to achieve something Congress has been unable to do for years: get Democrats and Republicans to agree on federal spending levels and, if possible, craft a blueprint to improve America’s fiscal health over the next decade.

Although most work will be done behind closed doors, Wednesday’s initial meeting was open to the news media. The 29 conferees took turns speaking, and partisan fiscal divides quickly became apparent.

Republicans, like House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, are opposed to raising taxes. “Taking more from hard-working families just is not the answer. I know that my Republican colleagues feel the same way. So I want to say this from the get-go [the start]: if this conference becomes an argument about taxes, we are not going to get anywhere. The way to raise revenue is to grow the economy.”

Democrats say a cuts-only approach to solving the nation’s fiscal problems is a non-starter. Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray said she is open to reforming costly programs that provide income and health care to retirees, but only if Republicans show similar flexibility on revenues.

“I am ready to make some tough concessions to get a deal. But compromise runs both ways. While we scour programs to find responsible savings, Republicans are also going to have to work with us to scour the bloated tax code and close some wasteful tax loopholes. Because it is unfair and unacceptable to ask seniors and families to bear this burden alone,” she said.

The conference mirrors the so-called “Super Committee” that tried and failed to reach a long-term budget agreement last year, triggering automatic across-the-board spending cuts that will deepen next year absent a budget deal. Many Democrats want to avoid further cuts to domestic programs, while many Republicans worry about additional military spending reductions. The conference could replace those cuts with other savings, but only if Democrats and Republicans forge a budget deal.

Such a deal also would eliminate the threat of another government shutdown in January, when federal funding runs out once again.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid