News / USA

US Lawmakers Shun Partisanship on Debt Talks

US Lawmakers Refocus on Debt Deal as Deadline Nearsi
|| 0:00:00
X
Michael Bowman
November 25, 2012 9:41 PM
U.S. lawmakers return to work this week focused on broad federal tax hikes and deep spending cuts that automatically take effect on January 1. VOA Senate correspondent Michael Bowman reports, signs of concrete progress did not emerge from initial consultations between the White House and congressional leaders in search of a deficit-reduction deal to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

US Lawmakers Refocus on Debt Deal as Deadline Nears

Michael Bowman

U.S. lawmakers are expressing no hardened bargaining positions on debt negotiations aimed at finding an alternative to massive tax hikes and deep spending cuts that will automatically take effect January 1.

Democrats and Republicans say they will have to embrace measures that will displease base supporters of their respective parties to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff” and cut America’s trillion-dollar federal deficit.

U.S. legislators are returning from a Thanksgiving holiday recess with an overriding concern: how to put America’s fiscal house in order without endangering a fragile economic recovery.  An initial round of post-election debt discussions between the White House and congressional leaders yielded no clear signs of progress. With negotiations set to resume, lawmakers took to U.S. airwaves Sunday to stress their willingness to consider politically-painful choices necessary for a bipartisan deal.

Republican Congressman Peter King spoke on NBC’s Meet the Press program. “We should not be taking ironclad positions," he said.

That view was echoed by Democratic Senator Richard Durbin on ABC’s This Week program. “Put everything on the table. We can solve this problem," he said.

Specifically, several Republican lawmakers say they are willing to set aside pledges made years ago that they would never vote for additional tax revenue and pursue deficit reduction through spending cuts alone. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on This Week said, “I will violate the [no-tax] pledge. Republicans should put revenue on the table.”

Similarly, Senator Durbin said Democrats must risk angering their party’s base supporters by embracing cost-saving reforms to programs that provide health care for retirees. “We want Medicare to be there for today’s senior and tomorrow’s, as well. We can make meaningful reforms without compromising the integrity of the program," he said.

To be sure, partisan differences remain. Republicans say the best way to boost government revenue is to limit tax deductions, rather than boosting tax rates on the wealthy, as President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers desire. While Democrats agree that costs will have to be contained for Medicare, they remain strongly opposed to Republican proposals to radically overhaul the program.

But the absence of partisan lines drawn in the sand is a departure from last year’s debt negotiations that failed to yield an accord, prompting a downgrade of U.S. creditworthiness.

Congressman King said, “The speaker [of the House], the majority leader [of the Senate], and the president are going to be in a room trying to find the best [debt reduction] package. I do not want to prejudge any of this. We cannot go off the fiscal cliff. We have to show the world we are adults. The election is over.”

For years, public opinion polls have shown that Americans overwhelmingly crave compromise and bipartisanship over ideological inflexibility and gridlock in Washington. Economists say the United States risks another economic recession if no debt deal is struck and automatic tax hikes and spending cuts actually take effect next year. 

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid