WAMU 88.5 : News

Rep. Van Hollen Continues To Haggle Over Debt Ceiling

Play associated audio
Rep. Chris Van Hollen at a rally in October. Van Hollen is part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers negotiating the nation's debt ceiling.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen at a rally in October. Van Hollen is part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers negotiating the nation's debt ceiling.

Negotiating hundreds of billions of dollars in budget cuts and potential changes to entitlements is a full time job. While talking to WAMU, Van Hollen was twice pulled aside by an aide to get updates on where Vice President Joe Biden was going to be for their meeting on raising the debt ceiling.

Van Hollen says the discussions this week will be even more sensitive than they were last week.

"We are now getting into more difficult issues," he says.

Among those difficult issues are potential changes to Medicare -- something Van Hollen's party has resisted. For their part, Republicans have put their line in the sand and are refusing to allow tax increases to be a negotiating point.

But after the Senate overwhelmingly voted to end subsidies for ethanol, Van Hollen is hoping the group can get a deal to end more tax expenditures, he says. But time is running short.

"We have set the end of this month as a goal for either reaching an agreement in principle or recognizing that we're not able to bridge our differences," he says.

On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said his party may look for a short term increase of the nation's debt ceiling, which could mean the spending debate will get punted once again.


With A Little Magic, Small Budget Horror Films Pack A Big Punch

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Jason Blum, founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions, about the magic of micro-budget horror films.

Why California's New Farmworker Overtime Bill May Not Mean Bigger Paychecks

California lawmakers just passed a landmark bill that would make farmworkers eligible for overtime if they work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. Some farmers say they can't afford that.

Republicans Consider Lasting Impression Of Trump On Their Party

Republicans are debating whether — win or lose — Donald Trump has already altered the DNA of the Republican Party.

Facebook Faces Trending News Problems After Firing Curators

On Friday, news site Quartz reported that Facebook fired its "news curators" and replaced them with algorithms to compile the news that ends up on Facebook's "Trending" news section. Many users took note when a fake article about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was trending.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.