April 11, 2013
The budget proposal President Obama released Wednesday sticks close to the themes of increased public investment and middle-class growth that he sounded in his reelection campaign, but it includes one notable new feature. For the first time, Obama lays out the details of the "grand bargain" on deficit reduction he's been seeking in private talks with Republicans. It's not clear whether the change in strategy will produce a deal; Republicans and Democrats are far apart on many issues.
April 8, 2013 |
Despite predictions by federal officials that deep budget cuts would lead to long wait times at the nation's airports, airline on-time performance did not change significantly during the busy spring break period. But the cuts brought about by the so-called sequestration did force government agencies to slash travel spending by as much as 30% in March, lowering revenue for the nation's airlines. When a budget battle between Congress and the Obama administration boiled over in February, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano predicted that job furloughs and cuts in overtime pay to airport screeners and customs officers would result in gridlock and airport wait times growing by an hour or more.
March 21, 2013 |
This week, realizing that government actually does do some things people like, senators in both parties tried to undo some of the damage wrought by the sequester/fiscal cliff debacle. Their efforts were quickly undone, however, by the chronic dysfunction of the United States Congress. Attempts were made to restore White House tours, maintain an efficient number of meat inspectors, keep up sane staffing of airport control towers, provide tuition help for members of the armed forces, undo cuts to military maintenance and take back many of the other across-the-board cuts that came about when the lawmakers failed to avert the $85 billion in automatic reductions that kicked in on March 1. In the end, though, fixing even the most idiotic cuts was put off so that yet another irresponsible political move could be avoided: shutting down the government.
March 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Think of it as what could have been: Alternative visions of the federal budget from progressives, conservatives and other rank-and-file lawmakers that have little chance of passing but offer another view of priorities. As House Republicans prepared Wednesday to pass their 10-year austerity budget plan from Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), the chamber first dispatched with alternative proposals. The Congressional Progressive Caucus offered a plan that would increase income taxes on millionaires to 45% - and billionaires to 49% - while paying for infrastructure programs and more money to the states to hire schoolteachers, cops and firefighters.
March 17, 2013 |
The automatic federal budget cuts brought about the by so-called sequestration are already inflicting some pain on the hotel industry. Federal agencies responded to the cuts by slashing nonessential travel by federal employees, which represent at least 30% of business for some hotels. This month, the 67th annual National Defense Transportation Assn. Forum & Expo -- which was to be held in September in San Antonio -- was called off because of the budget cuts. The association is a nonprofit, educational group focusing on transportation issues for the military.
March 13, 2013
New budget proposals this week from influential members of the House Republican and Senate Democratic leadership are the stuff of political caricatures. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), last year's Republican nominee for vice president, reprised the spending-cut talking points from his failed campaign with little change and no apparent irony. Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.), meanwhile, offered the outlines of a budget that increases taxes and spending, while doing little more than buying time on the entitlement programs at the heart of Washington's long-term problems.