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.
    Reuters
    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 Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    Party's presumptive presidential nominee, her vice presidential pick deliver optimistic message in Florida as they campaign for first time together

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora