US budget deadlock: Deal uncertain as shutdown looms

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Neil, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2010
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    Democratic and Republican negotiators are still trying to reach a deal on federal spending cuts as the deadline for a government shutdown looms.

    House speaker John Boehner said there had been "some progress" after late night talks at the White House.

    But US President Barack Obama said Republicans did not share a sense of urgency about coming to a deal.

    If no agreement is reached, parts of the US government will shut down after midnight on Friday.

    Mr Obama will hold further talks with senior congressional leaders on Thursday afternoon at the White House.

    Mr Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will meet Mr Boehner and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the White House said.

    The US government has subsisted without a long-term budget since 1 October, funded by a series of temporary measures.

    The most recent of those is set to expire at midnight on Friday, forcing all government services deemed non-essential to shut down and keeping hundreds of thousands of government workers at home.

    Republicans have proposed another temporary measure - but one that would cut $12bn from spending in a single week. Mr Obama has rejected that, saying the US government cannot continue to operate on a week-to-week basis.

    House Republicans plan to vote on the interim budget measure on Thursday.

    On the wider spending proposals, Republicans, urged on by the Tea Party movement, are calling for a far greater reduction in the government budget than Democrats are willing to concede, in what Republicans describe as a necessary effort to trim the $1.4 trillion (£858bn) US budget deficit.

    'Constructive' talks
    Following Wednesday night's talks, Mr Obama said the meeting had been "constructive" and narrowed the gaps between the White House and Republicans, but no deal had yet been reached.

    "I remain confident that if we're serious about getting something done, we should be able to complete a deal and get it passed and avert a shutdown," he said.

    But while Mr Boehner acknowledged "some progress" he added: "We're going to fight for the largest spending cuts we can get... because we believe that cutting spending will lead to job creation."

    Democrats have accused Republicans of linking social policy agendas to the bill, and say the size of the cuts Republicans demand would hinder the nascent US economic recovery.

    Republicans in the US House have pushed for $61bn (£37.4bn) in cuts over last year's spending between now and the end of the fiscal year on 30 September, and have sought to use the budget bill to dismantle Democratic policy priorities.

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