News / USA

US Lawmakers Continue Marathon Debate on Government Spending

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, left, accompanied by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, right, and House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, February 18, 2011
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, left, accompanied by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, right, and House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, February 18, 2011
Cindy Saine

The U.S. House of Representatives is immersed in a fourth day of debate on a bill that would cut government spending for this fiscal year by more than $60 billion. The epic battle between Democrats and Republicans is over the country’s spending priorities.

House lawmakers spent much of the past three days and nights debating and voting on 583 amendments to a bill to cut government spending. Some lawmakers began to appear tense and tired, but some, like Republican Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, were still passionate for even deeper cuts to government spending.

"We said to the American people that we would do at least a $100 billion, we have added hundreds of millions of dollars to that, let's do more, let's do 22 billion more, let's under-promise, over-deliver and set this nation back on a pathway toward fiscal responsibility and reform," he said.

Republicans swept midterm elections across the country last November, winning majority control of the House and picking up some seats in the still-Democratic controlled Senate.  Many of the Republican candidates promised dramatic cuts to domestic spending.

During this week's marathon debate, Democrats have fought cuts to social programs, health care funding and funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory agencies. Democratic Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota said many Americans are probably wondering what the debate is all about.

"What it is all about Mr. Speaker is which direction will America go in? Will we cut back and scale back vital programs that help Americans do better and move into the middle class?  Will we cut back and scale back vitally needed regulations to help protect us, allow us to have clean air and clean water and important other rights," Ellison said. "Or, Mr. Speaker, will we have an America where we have labor rights, where we can organize, where we can have adequate regulations that give us the opportunity to have a decent standard of life in America.”

Anna Palmer of "Congressional Quarterly" said Congress is having a hard time making budget cuts because it is more used to spending,

"For the first time in a very long time, the House of Representatives is looking at cutting funds instead of adding them, in terms of foreign aid, in terms of education and making really drastic cuts," she said.

The current temporary spending measure now in effect will expire on March 4.  The House and the Senate have to agree on a spending bill to prevent a government shutdown on March 5. The U.S. government shut down in late 1994 after a showdown between then Democratic President Bill Clinton and a Republican-controlled House. Palmer said Republican leaders are wary of another shutdown.

"House Republicans have said publicly and very adamantly, frankly, that they do not want a government shutdown," she said. "They did that in 1994 and it was not a very successful political tool."

But Palmer and other analysts say the high-stakes battle over budget priorities is also risky for Democratic President Barack Obama. Democratic leaders in the Senate have said they will not accept such drastic cuts to a spending bill, and Obama has said he would veto it if it reaches his desk.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs