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Posts in "Budget"
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
May 27, 2014
President Barack Obama has a new line he’s been trotting out as he talks to Democratic party donors — a claim that “trillions of dollars of wealth” have been restored on his watch.
Turns out, the line is true.
Household wealth has soared by trillions since Obama’s inauguration. And it’s now at an all-time high.
In 2008 alone, the total net worth of households and nonprofit organizations plummeted by more than $10 trillion to $57.2 trillion, according to Federal Reserve data. Since then wealth has soared more than $23 trillion to $80.7 trillion at the end of 2013. (See page 108, Line 42).
That’s $13 trillion above the pre-Obama yearly all-time high of $67.7 trillion at the end of 2007. Net worth now amounts to about $250,000 per U.S. resident.
Nearly $10 trillion of that improvement in net worth came just in 2013.
What Obama doesn’t mention is that federal debt has also soared since he took office. The national debt is now close to $17.5 trillion — up nearly $7 trillion — or $22,000 per U.S. resident — since he took office.
May 17, 2014
With midterm elections just around the corner, President Barack Obama is sharpening his populist rhetoric against the GOP.
In his weekly address, Obama accused Republicans of backing big new tax breaks for millionaires while cutting transportation grants that have created jobs.
He also spotlighted the looming expiration of transportation programs, potentially putting projects on hold.
“If Congress fails to act, nearly 700,000 jobs would be at risk over the next year,” he said. Full story
May 13, 2014
The White House wants the Senate’s $85 billion tax extenders bill amended so that it does not add to the deficit, but stopped short of issuing a veto threat Tuesday.
“The Administration supports the extension of many of the tax provisions in the Senate bill, such as those that support America’s small businesses, help unemployed veterans find jobs, and promote clean energy production and research and development,” said Bobby Whithorne, a spokesman for the White House. “The President in his budget has put forward a way to pay for these tax provisions so they don’t add to the deficit and hopes that as legislation moves forward, Congress will offset their cost by closing tax loopholes.”
Whithorne’s statement, however, does not include a threat to veto the bill — either over the deficit or the lack of an unemployment extension — another priority for the White House.
May 9, 2014
Defying the White House and a yearslong push for more revenue, Senate Democrats are on the verge of passing an $85 billion grab bag of tax cuts with no plans to pay for them.
The question now is whether President Barack Obama will stick to his guns and threaten to veto the bill — picking an intraparty fight in an election year with control of the Senate at stake.
Ask a liberal Senate Democrat about the deficit-financed “tax extenders” package headed for the floor next week, and you’re likely to hear a refrain that could have been uttered by a Republican — some tax cuts shouldn’t have to be paid for because they pay for themselves. Or extending an expired tax cut shouldn’t count — never mind those pesky pay-as-you-go rules.
But the White House’s budget proposed a corporate tax package that would generate revenue to help pay for its transportation bill, not another tax cut that would inflate the deficit.
“Our position remains unchanged and we continue to believe the extenders should be paid for,” an administration official told CQ Roll Call.
(Update 5/13: The White House declined to issue a veto threat on the bill.)
The administration hasn’t yet threatened a veto of the Senate measure, but the Office of Management and Budget issued a sternly worded veto threat over the House GOP’s tax extender bill resurrecting the research and development tax credit and making it permanent, at a cost of $156 billion over the coming decade. Some 62 House Democrats defied their leaders and the president’s veto threat to help pass the bill Friday with a potentially veto-proof majority.
It’s not the tax break Obama opposes — his budget would revive it too. It’s the not-paying-for-it part. Full story
May 6, 2014
The White House threatened to veto a new $156 billion corporate tax cut proposed by House Republicans, noting the same group has refused to act on an unemployment extension.
The bill would permanently extend the research and development tax credit without paying for it — adding to the deficit. As the White House Office of Management and Budget noted in a Statement of Administration Policy on Tuesday, it doesn’t even comport with the budget resolution the House passed just last month.
President Barack Obama supports extending the credit, but wants to offset the cost by ending other corporate tax breaks instead.
“The deficit increase in H.R. 4438 is more than fifteen times the cost of the proposed extension of emergency unemployment benefits, which Republicans are insisting be offset,” the statement noted. Full story
December 11, 2013
This isn’t the budget deal President Barack Obama has been seeking for the past three years. It’s certainly not the deal he might have been able to conjure a year ago, when he had Republicans desperate to extend the expiring Bush tax cuts. But for a weakened president under water in the polls and facing the prospect of endless stalemate in Congress, it appears to be better than nothing.
There really isn’t much for Obama to crow about, especially given his high hopes earlier in the year for a charm offensive with Senate Republicans in which he talked repeatedly of getting them to compromise on taxes in return for ending the sequester and trimming entitlements.
The deal does lift half of the sequester this year and about a quarter of it next year, and, importantly, it avoids the governing-by-crisis model that has marked the past three years of divided government. Full story