News / USA

US Senate Approves Two-year Budget

US Senate Approves Two-year Budgeti
X
December 19, 2013 1:31 AM
The U.S. Senate has voted 64 to 36 to approve a two-year federal budget that eases automatic spending cuts and averts the threat of another government shutdown. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the measure received bipartisan support - a rarity in an otherwise politically fractured body. It now goes to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature.
US Senate Approves Two-year Budget
Michael Bowman
The U.S. Senate has voted 64 to 36 to approve a two-year federal budget that eases automatic spending cuts and averts the threat of another government shutdown.The measure received bipartisan support, which is a rarity in an otherwise politically fractured body. It now goes to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature.

The budget gives Washington a two-year reprieve from the fiscal wars that halted federal operations for 16 days in October. Democratic Senator Richard Durbin was elated.

“What a refreshing development in this town, where so many times we [lawmakers] just fall flat on our face,” said Durbin.

The budget deal passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives last week. It proves that Congress can function, says Independent Senator Angus King.

“We can, in fact, talk to each other. We can, in fact, compromise. We can, in fact, make financial and fiscal arrangements around here that make sense, that are rational, that prioritize, and we can do our jobs,” he said.

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, a Democrat, crafted the deal with her Republican House counterpart. Murray said the accord softens automatic spending cuts while collecting additional revenues for a net reduction of the federal deficit.

“The bipartisan Budget Act puts jobs and economic growth first by rolling back those automatic and harmful cuts to education, medical research, infrastructure investments and defense jobs for the next two years,” said Murray.

Three dozen senators, all Republicans, voted against the bill, including fiscal hardliner Tom Coburn.

“It is a compromise for the politicians. It is not a compromise for the American people, because what it really does is increase spending and increase taxes.”

Coburn and other Republicans were disappointed that the budget fails to address America’s long-term fiscal imbalances, while Democrats complained that it does not extend federal compensation for the unemployed.

In the end, many lawmakers set aside their concerns and backed the compromise. Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities doubts bipartisanship will extend to other issues.

“Hard for me to see immigration reform, tax reform, minimum wages, these issues that still have really great partisan disagreements. I just don’t think we are there [ready for compromise]. Just because you jogged around the block does not mean you are ready to run a marathon,” said Bernstein.

Even as senators prepared to vote on the budget bill, the chamber was not free of partisan attacks. Republican Senator John Barrasso blasted Obama’s health care law.

“We have seen the president’s health care law is nothing more than a collection of deceptions, delays and disappointments,” said Barrasso.

Despite the budget deal, fiscal drama could return to the Capitol in February, when the government once again will reach its borrowing limit.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More