News / USA

World Watching Budget Showdown In Washington

World Watching Budget Showdown In Washington
World Watching Budget Showdown In Washington

A political showdown over the U.S. Federal Budget reaches a critical point in Washington this week. President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies are trying to reach an agreement with Republican congressional leaders to temporarily keep the government running past Friday, when the current funding bill expires. The budget battle is expected to dominate the domestic political agenda for the foreseeable future.

The budget fight has been building since Republicans won control of the House of Representatives in last November’s midterm election.

There are huge differences between Republicans and Democrats over not only the size of the budget cuts needed, but also the role of the federal government in people’s lives.

Republicans insist last year’s election results show Americans want to severely cut back on government spending and take steps to reduce the national debt, which is more than $14 trillion.

President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress counter that the size of the cuts Republicans want would harm the economy and place hardships on citizens who depend on government help.

But the president told state governors that both sides need to find common ground. "It is going to be a tough conversation to have, but it is one we need to have, and one I expect to have with congressional leaders in the weeks to come," he said.

The national debate over spending and the size of government is also taking place at the state level.  Republican governors in particular are pushing to scale back state-government spending and, in some cases, move to limit the right of public-employee unions to negotiate on issues like pensions and health care.

New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, told the CBS program Face the Nation that he believes Americans are looking for political leadership to make difficult cuts in federal and state budgets. "And I think the people of the United States are ready for a frank, adult conversation about it.  I have seen that in New Jersey.  I have done a lot of things that people say, 'I do not like, but I am glad you are taking it on because you have to, because we know we are in trouble," he said.

Analyst Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution says the budget debate will dominate this year’s political agenda, and could carry over into next year as well.

Galston says the public will also have a major role in the debate and is concerned with two key issues. "Number one, people are worried about the level of spending and the amount of borrowing the United States government is doing.  And number two, they do not want the government to shut down," he said.

The last government shutdown occurred in late 1995 and early 1996 when then-president Bill Clinton and Republican congressional leaders sparred over the budget.

Republicans have some unpleasant memories of that showdown, says John Fortier of the American Enterprise Institute, a guest on VOA’s Encounter program. "They are mostly, especially the leaders, not looking for a shutdown.  They saw in 1995 that it did not work that well in their conflict with President Clinton.  President Clinton came out in the world of public opinion better for that conflict," he said.

Brookings analyst Bill Galston says how the budget showdown plays out politically will have a big impact on next year’s presidential campaign. "What happens in 2011 will define to a very substantial degree the terrain of the conversation and the terrain of the political battle in 2012.  So this is a game for very high stakes and both sides know it," he said.

And Galston adds that the budget showdown is being closely watched overseas as well. "The rest of the world is looking at the United States and asking a version of a very fundamental question, namely, 'Does the world’s oldest democracy have the capacity to govern itself?"

The immediate debate deals with what kind of additional cuts should be made to this year’s federal budget, which runs through September.  Once that is settled, lawmakers and the president will turn their attention to Mr. Obama’s 2012 budget plan that calls for $3.7 trillion in spending, an amount Republicans believe is far too high.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces a Chaotic World and the Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
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 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.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid