News / USA

US Republicans Voice Little Appetite for New Shutdown Fight

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.
U.S. Republican conservatives who took a hard line in the fight over October's government shutdown are voicing little appetite for another standoff over an approaching Jan. 15 funding deadline for federal agencies.
Two things are different this time around, say conservatives in the House of Representatives.
The 16-day October shutdown was waged over Republican demands to stop the launch of Obamacare health insurance exchanges. Republicans are now gleefully watching the healthcare law's struggles and many believe it will collapse without much further prodding.
They are also expressing confidence they will not have to face a difficult choice from current budget talks, and believe that lead Republican negotiator Paul Ryan will not cut a deal that raises tax revenue. They are prepared to leave “sequester” automatic spending cuts in place if the budget panel fails.
“Frankly, no one wants to see a second shutdown and I think there's no reason we ought to have one,” said Representative Luke Messer of Indiana, who pressed hard to defund and delay Obamacare in the run-up to the October shutdown.
“The shutdown is just a blip on the radar now. No one is talking about that anymore. What they're talking about is the major failures of the Affordable Care Act,” Messer added.
Representative Todd Rokita, another Indiana Republican, said he did not see House conservatives threatening another shutdown in January because they made their point last time.
“What we were able to show to our supporters during the last round was that we were willing to fight,” Rokita said. “Obamacare has now begun to be implemented, so it's falling under its own weight.”
Representative Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, one of the most conservative House members, said that after voting to defund and delay Obamacare, he was “happy to let the president stew in his own soup” as the healthcare law struggles.
Faith in Ryan
Finding agreement to fund the government before the Jan. 15 deadline is largely in the hands of a 29-member budget negotiating committee.
The panel, commissioned under the deal to end the October shutdown and extend federal borrowing authority, aims to ease automatic spending cuts that will take a $91 billion bite out of funding next year for government agencies and discretionary programs and $18 billion from federal benefits programs.
Negotiators have made little progress in two public meetings, as Democrats demand more tax revenue and Republicans demand cuts to benefits programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The real talks are happening behind closed doors between Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, and top Democratic negotiator Patty Murray, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee.
Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee urged Ryan and Murray on Monday to craft a two-year budget deal that would allow Congress to pass normal spending bills and avoid the threat of another shutdown.
Ryan said last week the two sides were “trying to find common ground, but we're not there yet.”
But the Wisconsin Republican, the party's 2012 vice presidential candidate, has refused to consider raising tax revenues to offset the sequester cuts. House Republican conservatives say they believe Ryan will not give in on taxes.
“I think that conservatives and basically the conference as a whole has given a lot of leeway to Paul to sit down and work with Patty to find solutions,” said Representative Sean Duffy, another Wisconsin Republican. “Paul knows where the lines are, where he can push it and where he can't.”
If Democrats are unwilling to offer cuts to benefits programs that make up some two-thirds of federal spending, Republicans are vowing to keep the sequester cuts in place.
They believe they have a stronger position, because the cuts are enshrined in law, just as the launch of Obamacare health insurance was for Oct. 1, which gave Democrats an advantage during the shutdown fight.
February debt ceiling deadline
Even if the two sides can find a way forward on the Jan. 15 funding deadline, another debt ceiling deadline looms on Feb. 7, although a default threat would not likely occur until March or April because of the U.S. Treasury's cash-management measures.
Some conservatives are already eyeing potential demands for that deadline. Although there is little consensus so far, some said they should focus on shrinking deficits and reforming benefits programs.
Republicans were not able to effectively use the debt limit to make demands in October because the shutdown stretched into that deadline, conflating the two issues. Without a shutdown threat clouding the issue, demands to rein in spending on benefits may be more effective, Rokita said.
“There will be some clarity in message that we're able to have this conversation with the American people about living within our means again,” he added.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs