World News

White House: No Agreement in Talks on Government Shutdown

The White House says there is still no agreement with Republicans in Congress to end a political stalemate on government funding and borrowing; however, both sides have agreed to keep talking.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, called Republican House Speaker John Boehner Friday after holding a meeting with Senate Republicans earlier in the day.

The White House and Mr. Boehner's office said the two men agreed only that "all sides need to keep talking."

All sides are refusing to divulge specific details of what is being discussed as they look for a way to end the partial government shutdown that began October 1 and increase the country's $16.7 trillion borrowing limit. The United States says it will have only limited funds left to pay its bills when it reaches the borrowing cap next Thursday.

Also Friday, finance chiefs of the world's leading economies urged the United States to quickly resolve the stalemate. The G20 finance ministers, meeting in Washington, said that the U.S., with the world's largest economy, "needs to take urgent action to address short-term fiscal uncertainties."



One of the finance ministers, Russia's Anton Siluanov, said the standoff between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Republican opponents in Congress impacts other countries. He said Russia hopes the crisis will be "resolved as soon as possible."

Some Republican lawmakers sounded a positive note after Friday's meeting with the president.

One senator who met with Mr. Obama, Susan Collins of (the northeastern state of) Maine, called the meeting a "good exchange, but an inconclusive exchange."

Republicans in the House of Representatives have offered to increase the debt ceiling through November 22, while looking to negotiate more spending cuts with the White House over the next six weeks. House Republican leaders met Thursday with Mr. Obama, and later Congressman Eric Cantor described the discussions as constructive.



"We had a very useful meeting. It was clarifying I think for both sides as to where we are."



Meanwhile, the political impact of the shutdown on the U.S. political landscape was reflected in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of 800 people. It showed that 53 percent of respondents blame the shutdown on Republicans, while 31 percent blame it on Mr. Obama and Democratic lawmakers.

News of a possible debt ceiling deal sent U.S. markets soaring Thursday and Asian stock indexes jumped Friday as well. U.S. and European stocks advanced modestly Friday.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told a Senate panel Thursday that it would be a "grave mistake" to fail to increase the debt ceiling by the October 17 deadline. He said the Treasury would then only have about $30 billion on hand and some incoming revenue, but not enough to pay all its bills.

Lew said the government should not have to choose between paying government bond holders or paying pensions and health benefits owed to older Americans.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs