President Obama and congressional leaders have met at the White House in a bid to discuss the US budget as a government shutdown becomes visible. Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Senator Harry Reid were expected to deliver a joint statement. The talks have been on hold for days, with Republicans pushing far larger spending cuts than Democrats are willing to give in. Mr Obama has refused to sign another temporary funding measure.
On Thursday evening, Mr Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met behind closed doors at the White House. Advisers to the men had already spent hours locked in consultations. Throughout the day, congressional leaders from both parties were adamant that no deal had been reached but said they were optimistic one could be struck before a temporary measure funding the US government was to expire.
According to Mr. Boehner, no agreement on the number or policy issues was made. He believes that everyone agrees but there just a space till final decision. Mr. Reid said that despite he was disappointed we had been able to get something done, hence the talks will continue. The Democrats have accepted cuts of more than $33bn but some Republicans want cuts of more than $60bn to tackle the country’s huge deficit.
With US economy just now beginning to create jobs in large numbers, President Obama said a shutdown would damage the recovery, adding that for us to go backwards because Washington couldn’t get its act together is just unacceptable. The two sides are deadlocked over billions of dollars in spending cuts and dramatic changes in social programs and narrow powers.
The Republican-dominated House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday to fund federal agency operations for yet another week — at the cost of $12 billion in additional cuts. The House acted in the face of an Obama promise to veto the measure and the likelihood that it would never reach a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Obama and the Senate have already acted on two such temporary funding laws, but the White House said it would not go for another stopgap measure .The standoff, thought to have been mostly fueled by Republican members is over the conservatives’ demand that $61 billion be slashed from what the government needs to stay in operation through Sept. 30. The fight is over what amounts to about 12 percent of all government spending and does not deal with the majority like defense, old-age pensions and health care for the elderly and the poor.
While congressional Democrats and the White House have indicated a willingness to accept spending cuts of nearly $35 billion, they have started at other Republican demands. Republicans want to bit funding from Planned Parenthood, which provides family planning and medical assistance to women, and money the Environmental Protection Agency uses to regulate greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The future of US budget seems interesting with all twists and turns!