News / USA

Washington Week: Focus on Austerity

Washington Week: Focus on Fiscal Austerityi
X
February 25, 2013 12:52 PM
A federal budget showdown will consume Washington’s political oxygen when U.S. lawmakers get back to work Monday after a week-long recess. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Michael Bowman
A federal budget showdown will consume Washington’s political oxygen when U.S. lawmakers get back to work Monday after a week-long recess. 

America is bracing for across-the-board federal spending cuts, known as a sequester, that will automatically begin Friday. 

“They will slow our economy.  They will eliminate good jobs.  They will leave many families who are already stretched to the limit scrambling to figure out what to do,” President Barack Obama warned.

The president has urged Congress to pass an alternative deficit-reduction package of targeted spending cuts and revenue hikes.

“These cuts do not have to happen.  Congress can turn them off anytime with just a little compromise.  They can pass a balanced plan for deficit reduction,” he noted.

But Republicans reject additional tax revenue, arguing the root of America’s fiscal imbalance is runaway spending. 

“The sequester will be in effect until there are cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget over the next 10 years, period!” House Speaker John Boehner announced.

As budget cuts loom, Democrats and Republicans are blaming each other.  Fear of voter anger over slashed government services has yet to spur a bipartisan substitute for the sequester.

Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to act on President Obama’s choice for defense secretary, former senator Chuck Hagel.  Republicans delayed a confirmation vote earlier this month, demanding more time to probe Hagel’s views on global affairs. 

“This is not about politics.  This is not about personalities.  It is about questions like whether Iran should be allowed to get a nuclear weapon,” Senator John Cornyn said.

Republicans have promised to allow a vote this week, and Hagel’s confirmation is expected in the Democratically-controlled Senate.  Votes could also be held on CIA director nominee John Brennan and treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew.

The full extent of the Obama administration's backing for same-sex marriage rights could be illuminated if the Justice Department files a brief in a landmark Supreme Court case.  Last week, the department urged the court to strike down a law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages.  This week, the department could weigh in on a case challenging California’s ban on same-sex marriage. 

“I think that same-sex couples should have the same rights and be treated like everybody else,” President Obama said a few days ago.

Gay rights advocates want the administration to argue for same-sex marriage as a constitutional right.  If the Supreme Court agreed, it could open the door to gay marriage nationwide.  The court will hear oral arguments on same-sex marriage next month, with rulings expected in June.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ebharbison from: USA
February 25, 2013 9:06 AM
When I worked (I am retired), I was never allowed to take time off when there was a job that urgently needed to be finished. But, every time there is a crisis in our Federal Government, Congress takes a week off. Please, someone remind me why we pay these clowns!


by: Marcus from: Texas
February 25, 2013 9:04 AM
If you want this garbage to stop, we need to get the money out of the process. There is a far greater monetary incentive to please the base and the people holding the purse than there is a moral incentive to do what is best for the country. We need leadership, not manufactured reality-tv-style dramas.


by: Rodney Vero
February 25, 2013 9:03 AM
All these important items to consider and they all took last week off? If I did that, I'd be out of a job. Next election: "Vote for NO incumbent!" The lot of them need to be cleared out of these cushy jobs, lose ALL their benefits, and come join us in the economy they've created/continue to perpetuate.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid