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April 1, 2015

Posts in "Budget"

March 19, 2015

GOP Defense Angst Revives White House Budget Leverage

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Price presented the House GOP’s budget Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:48 p.m., March 20 | The great Republican budget crack-up may have finally arrived. The White House just hoped it would have happened a few years ago.

The spending tourniquet known as the sequester has split Republicans and even has some talking about tax increases, which is what the White House planned for all along when it proposed the sequester to resolve 2011’s debt-limit drama.

Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 11:46 a.m.
Budget

March 9, 2015

Joe Biden Plays a Home Game at Firefighters Conference

Biden speaks during the International Association of Fire Fighters Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Decades ago, a young Democrat running for Senate said that in Delaware, there are really three political parties: “Democrats, Republicans and firefighters.”

And Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has been a favorite of career and volunteer firefighters alike ever since, so when he was scheduled to speak Monday to an audience of unionized firefighters from across the nation gathered in Washington, he was playing as close to a home game as he could get outside of Delaware (or Scranton, Pa.). Full story

February 19, 2015

White House Makes Economic Pitch

The latest economic report from the White House is part victory lap, part pitch for enacting what President Barack Obama calls his “middle-class” agenda — including new trade deals with Europe and Asia and the president’s budget.

At a briefing for reporters Wednesday, ahead of Thursday’s release of the Economic Report of the President, chief economic adviser Jason Furman ticked off the statistics that have buoyed White House spirits of late — improving economic growth, the best job performance since 1999 last year and lower gas prices.

But there are several troubling caveats, Furman acknowledged.

The percentage of men in prime working age who have dropped out of the labor force has grown substantially in recent decades and is higher than many competitors. More troubling, the income of middle-class families has been largely flat, although there are recent signs of modest improvement. Median family incomes remain stuck at mid-1990s levels.

“This is the big picture challenge that we’re trying to overcome as an economy,” Furman said. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 6 a.m.
Agenda, Budget

February 5, 2015

A Shift in White House Budget Strategy?

Eric Chalmers of the Senate Budget Committee unpacks copies of President Obama's budget for fiscal year 2016 Feb. 2. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Eric Chalmers of the Senate Budget Committee unpacks copies of Obama’s budget for fiscal year 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For years, President Barack Obama has made a demand Republican leaders would not accept: He would only replace automatic spending cuts with a package that included a tax increase.

Obama himself made very real threats on the subject that amounted to no revenue, no deal.

That lasted through the failed supercommittee in 2011, was repeated on New Year’s Eve 2012 as the deal came together to avert the fiscal cliff, and held through the imposition of the sequester in March of 2013. But Obama’s stance started to crack when Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., cut their modest, two-year budget agreement in December 2013. Full story

February 2, 2015

Obama Budget Seeks End to ‘Mindless Austerity’ (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:55 p.m. | President Barack Obama’s opening salvo in this year’s budget wars with the new Republican Congress aims to shift the conversation away from four years of austerity. He received a predictably frosty reception.

Obama’s $4.066 trillion budget would unshackle discretionary spending from the legislative tourniquet known as the sequester. That allows about a 7 percent increase in defense and domestic discretionary programs — or $74 billion. Full story

January 29, 2015

Obama Budget Aim: Roll Back Sequester Spending Cuts (Updated)

Republicans applauded Obama 31 times during the 2015 State of the Union address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:48 p.m. | President Barack Obama’s budget will increase spending on domestic and defense programs by $74 billion, he plans to tell House Democrats Thursday at their retreat in Philadelphia.

According to a White House official, Obama will once again propose to “end the across-the-board sequester cuts that threaten our economy and our military.”

That’s translates to about $74 billion increase in discretionary spending over the level allowed under sequestration caps in fiscal 2016 — or about 7 percent, according to second White House official.

Non-defense discretionary spending would increase to $530 billion, or $37 billion over the spending caps, and $561 billion for defense spending, an increase of $38 billion, per the second official.

Full story

September 12, 2014

How Obama Will Pay for His War (Video)

From left, Reps. Morgan Griffith, Adam Kinzinger and Kevin Cramer head to a briefing on Obama's ISIS news. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

From left, Reps. Morgan Griffith, Adam Kinzinger and Kevin Cramer head to a briefing on Obama’s ISIS news. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House doesn’t know yet how much the new war with ISIS will cost, but it knows how it will pay for it: the all-purpose war funding credit card.

Officially known as Overseas Contingency Operations, it’s the catchall account used to fund the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that is now funding the war against the group also known as the Islamic State or ISIL.

The White House is counting on OCO money in the pending continuing resolution to pay for President Barack Obama’s plan to go on offense against the group.

In a practical sense, a vote for the CR is a vote to fund Obama’s war, even though the words “ISIS” and “ISIL” do not appear anywhere in the text. In the draft House CR, it’s simply listed as funding for “Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism.”
Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 4:30 p.m.
Budget, Iraq, ISIS, Syria

September 10, 2014

House Bill Fully Funds Obama’s Ebola Request

(Dominique Faget/Getty Images)

(Dominique Faget/Getty Images)

House Republicans plan to fully fund President Barack Obama’s $88 million request for countering the Ebola outbreak in a rare win for the administration.

The GOP isn’t going along with many of Obama’s other spending priorities — like $3.7 billion he sought to deal with the influx of child migrants at the border with Mexico — and the Ebola money had been in doubt until late Tuesday.

The Ebola money now appears to be a lock, as it is included in the House’s continuing resolution, which is needed to keep the government open after Sept. 30. Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, still needs to find a way to pass the CR, with conservative House Republicans allied with Sen. Ted Cruz meeting late into the night Tuesday discussing their strategy.

While the money is there, containing the deadly virus will hinge more on bringing enough private sector volunteers and government scientists into the fold.

 

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By Steven Dennis Posted at 8:39 a.m.
Budget

July 25, 2014

White House Has Doubts House Will Act on Border Crisis

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest pronounced himself a cynic when it comes to chances the House will act to pass an emergency border supplemental before going home for the August recess.

Earnest said Friday that his “cynicism” is due to Speaker John A. Boehner’s comments Thursday that he was still talking about it with his members, suggesting the GOP is still arguing amongst itself about what to do.

“If there are additional proposals that Congress will actually act on, we’re certainly willing to have conversations with them about what they’re willing to do,” Earnest said. “But again, all we’re hearing from the speaker of the House is talk that’s not backed up by any action.” Full story

July 8, 2014

Obama Still Needs Congress to Show Him the Money

Heather Piña Ledezma, a citizen who turned 6 on July 4, attends an immigration rally near the White House. (By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Heather Piña Ledezma, a citizen who turned 6 on July 4, attends an immigration rally near the White House. Her mother is Mexican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama may be just about done with this Congress, but there’s one thing he can’t do without — money.

Before Congress adjourns in a month for the August recess, Obama wants lawmakers to pass a supplemental spending bill dealing primarily with the child migrant crisis, while also averting a slowdown of highway projects.

But he will need a historically unproductive Congress to creak into action to do so, even as House Republicans head to the courthouse to sue the president over his executive actions.

And after the break, Congress will have to agree on a spending bill to avoid a pre-election government shutdown — with Obama pushing Congress for a host of controversial items, including $500 million for Syrian rebels, a new anti-terrorism foreign aid fund and the authority to close the military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The bottom line: While Obama has used his pen and phone to enact a host of administrative changes this year, he can’t pen and phone his way around Congress’ power of the purse. Full story

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