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Posts in "Budget"
March 19, 2015
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.
March 9, 2015
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
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
February 5, 2015
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
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
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.
September 12, 2014
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.”
September 10, 2014
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.
July 25, 2014
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
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