News / USA

White House, Republicans in Conflict on Budget, Spending

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)

The White House said Thursday that President Barack Obama is committed to working with congressional Republicans and Democrats to achieve compromises on his 2012 budget, and on spending levels for the current  fiscal year as well as on longer-term fiscal issues.  Mr. Obama's spokesman also hit back at Republicans who assert that the president is not showing enough leadership.

The president's 2012 budget proposes cuts in what his administration sees as inefficient or wasteful government programs, and projects a reduction of $400 billion in non-defense, discretionary spending.

Mr. Obama says that in the long run, the budget for the next fiscal year will by the middle of the decade result in no additions to a national debt that now exceeds $14 trillion.

Republicans say the budget continues a process of deficit spending and tax increases that they assert harm prospects for job creation.  And they accuse Mr. Obama of failing to demonstrate true leadership.

Republicans have yet to unveil their own formal budget counter-proposal, which is expected in April, one they say will contrast sharply with the president's $3.73 trillion blueprint for 2012.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner accused Mr. Obama of failing to take the lead on discussions to solve the nation's fiscal problems, which include tackling strains on the economy from huge, expensive programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

"We need to have an adult conversation on entitlements and the president needs to lead that discussion," said  Boehner. "He was elected to lead, not to sit on the sidelines.  It's also clear we need to have a conversation with leaders in his own [Democratic] party who continue to deny that there is even a problem."

What form that "adult conversation" might take is unclear.  President Obama said in a news conference this week that it will require a spirit of cooperation, and that to accomplish anything will require putting aside political posturing.

"Ultimately, what we need is a reasonable, responsible and initially, probably, somewhat quiet and toned-down conversation about, 'All right, where can we compromise and get something done," said President Obama.

In Thursday's White House news briefing, the president's spokesman, Jay Carney, defended Mr. Obama's budget as an "extraordinary proposal."

Carney reiterated the president's overall goal of reaching an agreement on spending reductions, saying what is important is that discussions are "reasonable" and "calm" . . .

". . . to ensure that the goal and focus of our policies is economic growth, job creation, living within our means and avoiding the kind of conflict that can harm our potential to achieve those goals," said Carney.

But the White House says it will not accept Republican efforts to cut $100 billion from current fiscal year spending.

The president has threatened to veto any legislation that he says would "undermine core government functions and investments key to economic growth and job creation."

Adding to worries in the current spending debate is the possibility of a government shutdown, which would occur if Congress and the White House are unable to agree on extending temporary funding legislation that will expire on March 4.

House Speaker Boehner said Republicans will reject any short-term extension to keep government operating, if it does not reduce present spending.   

"I am not going to move any kind of short-term [continuing resolution] at current levels," he said. "When we say we're going to cut spending.  Read my lips.  We're going to cut spending."

Boehner also threatened to pursue cuts in what he called "wasteful, mandatory spending," in government benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.  

Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid accused Republicans of seeking a government shutdown.  

Asked if he was ready to broker an "adult conversation" with Reid and President Obama to keep this from happening, Boehner said that he hopes the president and Senate Democrats are "ready to get serious" about cutting spending.   

You May Like

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Press Freedom

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs