Analysis: Congress Approves Spending Extension To Tackle 'Fiscal Cliff' Later | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Analysis: Congress Approves Spending Extension To Tackle 'Fiscal Cliff' Later

Play associated audio

Congressional leaders announced a deal today to avoid a government shutdown on October 1. That's when the current fiscal year ends and spending bills are set to expire. As Alex Bolton, senior staff writer at The Hill newspaper explains, the deal would keep the government running for six months and leave spending at the levels agreed upon last summer.

Why are leaders from both parties agreeing to this stop-gap measure two months ahead of the deadline?

"It just goes to show how eager they are to avoid a stand-off over government shutdown at the end of the year. We've been through this already, as recently as the spring, late winter of last year, when there was a potential government shutdown. These stand-offs take up a lot of time and a lot of energy. At the end of this year, there's so much to do. That's because Congressional leaders are putting off everything until after the election, and they have a lot on their plate: the sequestration which we've talked about before and also the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts. Just resolving those issues is going to take up a lot of time and energy, and they don't want the added headache of having to worry about funding levels for the federal government."

What's the timeline for actually making this deal law?

"They struck the deal today, but it hasn't been written up yet and hasn't been put on paper yet, so it can't be voted on this week. Congress is leaving for a five week Congressional recess at the end of this week, and they won't be back until the second week of September. So this will not be voted on until September, so it will be at least six weeks until this actually receives a vote on the House and Senate floors."

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is expected to vote tonight on a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks in the District.  What are the chances the bill would become law?

"I've talked to aides on the Hill, and they're not exactly sure whether this will get the approximately 290 votes to pass on the suspension calendar. The suspension bill is a way to pass non-controversial legislation. It's an expedited process, but to get bills passed, it needs a super-majority support in the House. It's not entirely clear whether it's going to have the support to pass, and it looks like it probably won't. So the question becomes: why are Republican leaders putting it on the suspension calendar to have a vote if it's not going to pass? As is the answer for most of these things as you  get closer to election day, it's pure politics. It looks like they want to have a vote that they can go after Democrats on. They want to be able to campaign against various Democrats for supporting or for opposing this proposal to ban abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia."

Editor's note: The House bill on District abortion failed to pass in the House Tuesday.

NPR

If Robots 'Speak,' Will We Listen? Novel Imagines A Future Changed By AI

As artificial intelligence alters human connection, Louisa Hall's characters wrestle with whether machines can truly feel. Some "feel they have to stand up for a robot's right to exist," Hall says.
NPR

Aphrodisiacs Can Spark Sexual Imagination, But Probably Not Libido

Going on a picnic with someone special? Make sure to pack watermelon, a food that lore says is an aphrodisiac. No food is actually scientifically linked to desire, but here's how some got that rep.
NPR

A Reopened Embassy In Havana Could Be A Boon For U.S. Businesses

When the U.S. reopens its embassy in Havana, it will increase its staff. That should mean more help for American businesses hoping to gain a foothold on the Communist island.
NPR

In A Twist, Tech Companies Are Outsourcing Computer Work To ... Humans

A new trend is sweeping the tech world: hiring real people. NPR's Arun Rath talks to Wired reporter Julia Greenberg about why tech giants are learning to trust human instinct instead of algorithms.

Leave a Comment

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