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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora