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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid