News / USA

Washington Gridlock Impacts US Financial Standing

TEXT SIZE - +
Michael Bowman

When President Obama lays out his vision for the United States this year in his State of the Union speech, one challenge before him will be getting Congress to agree on the nation's finances. The politically divided Congress fought all last year over America’s fiscal woes: a trillion-dollar federal deficit and a $15 trillion national debt, and made little progress.

At a time of daunting economic challenges, many Americans are dismayed by Washington’s political paralysis.

Fueling the gridlock: divided government. Republicans control the House of Representatives and Democrats control the Senate.

Perhaps the biggest casualty of gridlock: U.S. fiscal health and financial standing in the world. With the nation teetering on the edge of a debt default last year, Congress engaged in a ferocious, months-long battle over deficit reduction.  Republicans demanded deep spending cuts.

“Giving the federal government more money would be like giving a cocaine addict more cocaine,” said John Boehner, Republican Speaker of the House.

Democrats accused Republicans of targeting the poor and protecting the rich.

“There is not one red cent coming from America’s wealthiest families, while we are willing to cut education for the poorest children in America,” said Democrat Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, sought $4 trillion in deficit reductions over 10 years. In the end, the White House and Congress could only agree on about half that much. The fight nearly led to a U.S. debt default. Credit ratings agencies blasted Washington’s performance. Standard & Poor’s did what once would have been considered unthinkable: it downgraded U.S. creditworthiness.

“Political gridlock in Washington leads us to conclude that policymakers do not have the ability to proactively put the finances of the U.S. on a sustainable footing,” said Chambers.

Finger-pointers all have a common target: Washington gridlock.

"This slash-and-burn, take-no-prisoners, no-compromise-no-matter-what approach to politics is one of the reasons why Congress is having such a difficult time getting things done," President Obama said.

“The biggest threat to our economy is not Europe’s instability or China’s monetary policy or anything else, it is this partisan paralysis and political cowardice that I think is defining Washington,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Members of Congress regularly bemoan America’s fiscal problems. But taking action means surmounting partisanship, something Washington struggles mightily to do.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid