Congress delays US government shutdown over budget cuts
Published: 2nd Mar 2011 21:41:43
The US Congress has passed a bill extending funding for the federal government by two weeks, staving off a possible government shutdown.
It comes as politicians continue to tussle over Republican plans to cut federal domestic spending by a quarter.
The bill contains $4bn (£2.5bn) in agreed cuts, well short of the $60bn targeted by Republicans.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said the cuts plan would cost the US economy 200,000 jobs.
"I would like to see job creation," said Mr Bernanke, speaking to the House Financial Services Committee, adding that the impact was "not trivial".
The 200,000 figure he cited is equivalent to about 0.13% of the US labour force.
His estimate was well below the 700,000 potential job losses cited by some Democrats, but conflicted with Republicans' claims that their cuts plans would be job-creating.
In contrast, the Fed chairman said the likely impact of the cuts on growth would only be about 0.2% this year and 0.1% next.
We cannot keep doing business this way”
Republicans control the House of Representatives - the lower chamber of Congress - but not the Senate.
They have been threatening Washington DC with an effective shutdown if the cuts are not passed, by refusing to raise the federal government's borrowing limit.
Although the government cannot exceed its borrowing cap by law, perversely that does not prevent Congress passing legislation that creates unfunded spending commitments.
House Representatives endorsed a tax-cutting package at the end of last year that significantly increased the current US budget deficit.
The extension bill only postpones the day of reckoning by two weeks, to 18 March, with Democrats claiming that is not enough time to reach an agreement over the budget.
"We cannot keep doing business this way," said President Barack Obama.
"Living with the threat of a shut-down every few weeks is not responsible, and it puts our economic progress in jeopardy."
Senate Democrats are preparing their own counter-proposal to the Republicans' cuts.
Mr Obama has asked Vice-President Joe Biden to broker an agreement between the two sides.
The federal government last experienced a shut-down in the mid-90s during Bill Clinton's presidency.
On that occasion, most voters blamed Newt Gingrich's Republicans.
But this time round it is unclear whose electoral prospects would be damaged if a deal is not reached.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. Congress delays US government shutdown over budget cuts [Online] (Updated 2nd Mar 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/134923/Congress-delays-US-government-shutdown-over-budget-cuts [Accessed 25th Apr 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com