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Posts in "Federal Budget"
June 9, 2014
The House is back in Washington for almost two full months, but don’t look for a lot of breakthroughs: GOP leadership has pared back big-ticket wish lists, choosing instead to sprint for the August recess with a relatively modest legislative agenda.
There is less and less serious talk of an overhaul of immigration, a rewrite of the tax code or replacing the Democrats’ health care law. Instead, it’s much more likely the next two months of House floor action — roughly 28 legislative days before a monthlong summer recess — will be consumed by such small-bore economic measures as targeted tax extenders and energy regulation bills.
May 22, 2014
A broad and familiar coalition of Republicans and Democrats came together Thursday to pass an annual Pentagon policy bill, with House GOP leadership largely ducking some of the more contentious debates and amendments related to the National Defense Authorization Act.
As a veto threat loomed over the bill — the White House has threatened a veto on the defense authorization act for years and has yet to interrupt the 52-year streak of the president signing the measure into law — House lawmakers voted 325-98 to pass a bill authorizing more than $590 billion for defense activities in fiscal 2015.
While the House went late into the night Wednesday disposing of 169 amendments made in order for floor consideration, much of the debate on the bill focused on what the House wouldn’t be debating.
The most notable amendment excluded was a proposal from Rep. Jeff Denham to give certain undocumented immigrants legal status in exchange for enlisting in the military.
During last year’s defense authorization, the Rules Committee made in order that proposal from the California Republican, but GOP leadership convinced Denham to withdraw his amendment on the floor.
This year, with immigration one of the touchiest issues in the House, leaders decided not to give Denham the choice; they killed the amendment in the Rules Committee before it could ever get a vote. Full story
April 22, 2014
Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., said Tuesday the Congressional Black Caucus is open to working with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., on bipartisan legislative action on reducing poverty.
Ryan, who came under fire from black leaders after recent comments about inner-city unemployment, will hold a hearing next week examining the results of the War on Poverty, and has also accepted an invitation to meet with the CBC.
Moore said the caucus sees the Ryan meeting as an opportunity. Full story
April 10, 2014
Speaker John A. Boehner had a few things to say Thursday morning.
During his weekly press conference, which lasted just over 6 minutes, Boehner criticized former director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS, Lois G. Lerner, and knocked Democrats for playing politics rather than working with Republicans to create jobs. But Boehner most notably and vociferously went after the Obama administration for putting up roadblocks to answers on Benghazi, Fast and Furious and the IRS scandal.
The Ohio Republican also addressed the recent kissing controversy surrounding Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister, saying he had spoken to the freshman Congressman and expects all members to be held to the highest ethical standards.
Boehner said Republicans were “trying to build a consensus” on an Obamacare replacement bill, and were waiting for Democrats to offer an unemployment extension that was paid for and would address the economic problems in the United States.
Boehner’s press conference turned into an outburst, however, when he fielded a question from Fox News’s Chad Pergram regarding Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s intimation that he had been treated unfairly because of his race.
Watch the full press conference below:
Updated, 3:51 p.m. | This year saw more Republicans than ever vote against Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s spending blueprint, which passed the House Thursday 219-205. Here is a breakdown of the 12 Republicans who voted against the Wisconsin Republican’s budget and why.
The House narrowly approved Rep. Paul D. Ryan’s spending blueprint Thursday, 219-205. It’s an important symbolic victory for the Wisconsin Republican and potential GOP presidential contender.
No Democrats voted for the 10-year-spending plan and the bill won’t go anywhere in the Senate, but the document has come to represent a marker for where the Republican Party, its leaders and rank-and-file House members stand on fiscal policy.
April 7, 2014
The latest Ryan budget is no more likely than its predecessors to become law. But as with those those earlier documents, this year’s spending blueprint is giving both parties plenty of election-year ammunition.
Democrats, looking for some policy heft to leverage their political talking points, have asked the Congressional Budget Office to analyze the impact on poverty of Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s fiscal 2015 budget.
“Our budgets serve as an important tool for expressing Congress’s level of support for domestic anti-poverty initiatives and prioritizing investments in opportunity,” Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., wrote in a Monday letter to CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf. “Such an analysis will aid Members of Congress in making an informed decision on whether Chairman Ryan’s budget will improve or worsen the state of poverty in America.”
April 2, 2014
House Republican leaders expressed confidence Wednesday that the Ryan budget blueprint will pass, despite grumbling from some in the conference that the document does not go far enough to curb spending and change social programs.
Yet as leaders consider bringing the resolution to the House floor as soon as next week, several members said they remain undecided on how to vote for the measure, setting up what could be a close vote on another of GOP leaders’ priorities.
“It’ll pass,” GOP Whip Kevin O. McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters one day after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan unveiled the 10-year roadmap. Ryan himself was assured as well, telling reporters a day earlier that he been speaking to colleagues for months and expects the budget to be adopted.
April 1, 2014
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan defended his spending blueprint Tuesday and said he is confident the House will pass it, despite GOP opposition to the underpinning bipartisan budget agreement last year.
The Wisconsin Republican, speaking on a conference call with reporters, said the resolution will likely draw enough votes to pass, despite 62 Republican defections to a deal he struck in December with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash. That deal set spending levels for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, to which Ryan’s budget conforms.
“Members who may not have supported the Ryan-Murray deal see that this is an entirely different deal and a different perspective in the context of actually balancing the budget and paying off our debt,” Ryan said. “Our colleagues who we have visited with frequently are pleased to support this budget because of its overall goals. The good clearly outweighs any other concerns that they had.” Full story
It’s no surprise the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, didn’t like the Republican budget proposal from the Budget Chairman, Paul D. Ryan. But it might be a surprise exactly how much Van Hollen hates it.
“This is the worst budget for America that we’ve seen,” Van Hollen said as he began a pen-and-pad briefing on the blueprint Tuesday.
Ryan officially released his 2015 budget proposal Tuesday morning, and it was clear from the outset that Democrats were not going to like the Wisconsin Republican’s spending vision.
While the budget abides by the defense and non-defense caps laid out in the recent budget deal for fiscal 2015, Ryan’s newest blueprint proposes raising defense spending by $483 billion over 10 years and cutting non-defense spending by $791 billion in that same period.
“It takes that area to sequester levels,” Van Hollen said of non-defense spending, “then doubles the sequester cut to those non-defense areas — and then goes beyond that.” Full story
March 24, 2014
Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer really wants a grand bargain, and he says now, “when we don’t have a crisis breathing down our necks,” is the time to do it.
At a Third Way event at the Columbus Club, tucked into one of the more opulent corners of Union Station — the Maryland Democrat delivered an address Monday morning calling on Republicans and Democrats to come to the table and change America’s long-term fiscal outlook. Full story
March 21, 2014
Updated 3:44 p.m. |Majority Leader Eric Cantor is telling House Republicans they will produce a budget that adheres to spending limits and balances the budget in ten years.
“We owe it to the American people to demonstrate how we will allocate their tax dollars and balance the budget,” Cantor wrote Friday to House Republicans.
The Virginia Republican noted that President Barack Obama’s budget “blows past” the spending caps previously agreed to for fiscal 2015, but the the House GOP’s budget will conform to the agreed upon “spending limits.”
The pluralization of that last word is key: There are rumors that House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan intends to offer a budget that would adhere to the overall spending limit, but would exceed the defense spending caps, which are unpopular with a number of Republicans. Full story
February 26, 2014
The Congressional Budget Office, in one chart, sums up the looming disaster in the nation’s highway trust fund:
The chart shows the yawning gap between projected revenue for highways and projected spending. That gap is set to grow thanks in large part to two factors: the fact that the gas tax wasn’t indexed to inflation and thus is stuck at 1993 levels, and improving fuel efficiency, which reduces gas tax revenue even further. Full story
February 18, 2014
A Congressional Budget Office report on the minimum wage has posed an old question to Capitol Hill: Are you willing to cut hundreds of thousands of jobs to give higher wages to millions?
The CBO report, which was released Tuesday and has drawn criticism from some Democrats and the White House, said increasing the minimum wage would have two main effects on low-wage workers:
“Most of them would receive higher pay that would increase their family’s income, and some of those families would see their income rise above the federal poverty threshold. But some jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated, the income of most workers who became jobless would fall substantially, and the share of low-wage workers who were employed would probably fall slightly.”
The report, at the request of lawmakers, studied the effects of raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour — as the president proposed a year ago — and $10.10 per hour as he proposed this year and as the so-called “Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013″ would do after two years, subsequently indexing the minimum wage to inflation.
The effect of raising the wage to $9 per hour, according to the CBO, would be a net loss of 100,000 jobs but higher wages for approximately 7.6 million people. In turn, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would result in 500,000 jobs lost but raise wages for 16.5 million, according to the analysis. Full story
February 14, 2014
CAMBRIDGE, Md. — President Barack Obama credited House Democrats’ party unity for getting Republican leaders to back off debt limit brinkmanship at the caucus’s annual retreat here.
“This caucus has shown, time and time again, under the most difficult circumstances, the kind of courage and unity and discipline that has made me very, very proud,” Obama said on Friday morning.
There’s no better example, Obama said, than the vote to raise the debt ceiling earlier this week, which passed the House with all but two Democrats voting “yes” — and only 28 Republicans.
“I was just talking to [Minority Leader] Nancy [Pelosi] before I came out here,” he continued. “The fact that we are no longer going to see, I believe, anybody try to hold our government hostage and threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America in order to contract policy concessions, the fact that we were able to pass a clean debt limit, is just one example of why, when you guys are unified, you guys stick together, this country is better off, and I could not be more proud.”
While Biden delivered something of a pep talk to Democrats framed in the context of the 2014 election cycle, Obama steered clear of such rhetoric; in fact, he made no mention at all of the November elections.
But Obama did energize the crowd of lawmakers assembled in a Hyatt Regency ballroom on Friday morning by promising to continue to sign executive orders on specific policy issues on which House Republican refused to budge.
“I want to work with Congress, but I’m not gonna wait, because there’s too much to do,” he said.
Obama conceded that there are some areas in which he could not enact change through his now-infamous “pen and phone” strategy, such as an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system and an increase in the minimum wage across all work sectors.
In those areas, Democrats would have to show resilience on their own.
“Punting and putting things off for another year, another two years, another three years, it hurts people, it hurts our economies, it hurts families and part of what I like to think makes us Democrats is not simply some abstract ideological set of beliefs but the fact that we’re reminded every single day that we’re here to help a whole bunch of folks out there, our neighbors, our communities who are struggling still and need our help and they’re counting on us,” Obama said.
“Good thing is, they got some outstanding members of Congress who are willing to fight for them,” he continued, “regardless of the political costs.”