News / USA

White House Fiscal Talks Yield Varying Expectations

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters following a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, Oct. 2, 2013.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters following a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, Oct. 2, 2013.
Michael Bowman
President Barack Obama met with congressional leaders of both parties for the first time since a partial U.S. government shutdown began earlier this week. Expectations for the meeting varied greatly among Democratic and Republican lawmakers, who remain deadlocked on extending federal funding.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner emerged from White House talks to say that President Barack Obama again refused to negotiate with them to end a government shutdown.

After more than an hour of talks between Obama and congressional leaders, the top Republican in Washington told reporters it was a polite conversation, but essentially made no progress.

For days, Democrats repeatedly have stated they will not negotiate with Republicans on the fiscal impasse as long as Republicans have partisan stipulations for reopening the federal government. To do otherwise, Democratic lawmakers insisted, would be the legislative equivalent of negotiating with hostage-takers.

That stance, echoed by the president, led Republicans to label Democrats as inflexible hardliners who are unwilling to resolve differences through dialogue and compromise.

News that the president would meet with Democratic and Republican leaders of both houses of Congress elicited a positive response from House Speaker John Boehner. His spokesman issued a statement saying Republicans are pleased that “the president finally recognizes that his refusal to negotiate is indefensible.”

Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers also welcomed discussions.

“We have got to start talking, we have got to come to the table, we have got to start negotiating, because all across the country, Americans are being impacted,” she said.

But Republicans are misreading Obama’s intentions, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney.

“He [Obama] will not negotiate. He will not offer concessions to Republicans in exchange for not tanking [harming] the economy,” he said.

One participant at the White House meeting, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, was non-committal beforehand on what might be accomplished.

“I did not call the meeting. The president called the meeting. I will go to the meeting,” he said.

Reid revealed he had sent a letter to Speaker Boehner earlier in the day, agreeing to bicameral negotiations on a broad range of fiscal challenges - but only after the government shutdown ends. Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said there is no reason to keep federal operations halted while negotiations go forward.

“Republicans have this exactly backwards. They say, ‘Let us talk, and then maybe we will open the government.’ They ought to say, “We will open up the government, and then we can talk,’” said Schumer.

Senate Democrats sought to jumpstart their proposal by bringing it to the chamber floor. Republicans objected to its adoption. Meanwhile, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted to approve temporary emergency funding for a selected number of federal entities, such as national parks. Reid has said the Senate will only approve a full reopening of the federal government with no Republican stipulations attached.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs