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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

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