News / USA

US Lawmakers Pass Two-Week Spending Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

US Capitol
US Capitol

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on Tuesday to fund the federal government for two more weeks to avoid a government shutdown when temporary funding runs out on Friday.  Republican and Democratic lawmakers disagree on how to reduce the federal budget deficit without hurting the economy, but they are trying to work together to avert a government closure.  

The temporary measure intended to keep the federal government running passed by a strong bipartisan vote of 335 to 91.

Republican Representative Harold Rogers of Kentucky called the continuing resolution, or CR, "simple and clean." "So this short-term CR will provide an additional two weeks, while cutting spending, to show our continued resolve to get our nation's fiscal house in order," he said.

Ahead of the vote, House leaders reached an agreement with the Senate to cut $4 billion from this year's federal budget during the next two weeks.  Some of the cuts would come from programs that President Barack Obama has chosen for elimination; the rest would come from ending the practice of earmarks, in which lawmakers fund special projects in their home districts.  

The temporary spending bill would give Congress and the Obama administration more time to reach an agreement on a spending plan for the rest of this fiscal year, which ends on September 30.

The bill now moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Tuesday that the Senate will likely vote on the House measure within 48 hours, ahead of the Friday deadline.

Senate Minority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Democratic lawmakers have a chance this week to demonstrate that they have gotten the message that the American people want Congress to stop out-of-control government spending.

"This bill should not be controversial.  It has only become controversial because Democratic leaders in Congress have resisted every effort, every effort, to reign in this spending binge.  This bill proposes to cut spending for the next two weeks by $4 billion, and they have fought it tooth and nail [with every available means].  They refuse to admit that Washington has a spending problem," he said.

But the issues of government spending and which programs need to be cut and by how much are controversial.  Democratic Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts sharply criticized the seven month temporary budget passed last month by House Republicans that would slash funds for U.S. aid programs to fight global hunger.

"If these short-sighted and quite frankly callous cuts are allowed to stand, we would literally be taking the food out of the mouths of over two million children.  We would be depriving over 18 million people the food that keeps them alive in Haiti, Darfur, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Kenya and elsewhere," he said.

Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California made clear she would vote for the two-week spending bill, but that she is unhappy with the deeper cuts Republicans are proposing.

"So let's get through this today, recognizing the challenge that we have, understanding that this bill before us is not a good one.  But it is not final," she said.

Montana Republican Representative Denny Rehberg said he would also support the measure, but said he fears that President Obama and his fellow Democrats in the Senate will not agree to deeper spending cuts that Republicans are demanding.

"The president and the Senate majority hold the balance of power in Washington, D.C.  But they stand against the majority of Americans.  I will support this measure, but I have been pushed to my limit," he said.

Some analysts say that providing only 14 days for the the nation's two major parties to resolve their differences on a measure to fund government for the rest of the fiscal year is not realistic.

But most lawmakers from both sides of the aisle seem eager to avoid a repeat of the political showdown in 1995 between Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled House that resulted in an unpopular shutdown of the federal government.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
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 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 US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of 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 Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
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.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs