December 15, 2013 |
That Congress could soon pass a budget agreement after months of relentless partisan showdowns is thanks in large part to a mom in tennis shoes. Sen. Patty Murray presented herself in that ordinary way when she first ran as a Democrat to represent Washington state, and skeptics questioned her political savvy -- and footwear. In the two decades since that long-shot campaign, the petite, no-nonsense lawmaker has quietly ascended to the top levels of Senate power. As chairwoman of the Budget Committee, Murray negotiated a breakthrough $85-billion accord in one-on-one talks with Rep. Paul D. Ryan, the former GOP vice presidential contender from Wisconsin who is known for his austere approach to the federal budget.
December 11, 2013 |
Congressional budget negotiators reached a hard-fought deal Tuesday aimed at avoiding another government shutdown, agreeing on a plan that would restore some money to programs hit by impending across-the-board cuts but trim spending on federal retirees and raise fees on airline travel. Final passage of the $85-billion package, however, remains uncertain because of rising opposition from tea party lawmakers and influential conservative groups. A House vote, expected this week, will once again test the ability of Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)
October 28, 2013 |
A budget panel composed of Democratic, Republican and independent members of the Senate and House is working on ways to avoid another government shutdown like the nightmare we all were just forced to endure. As a member of that committee, I realize that our $17-trillion national debt and $700-billion deficit are serious problems that must be addressed. But I also realize that real unemployment remains close to 14%, that tens of millions of Americans with jobs are paid horrendously low wages, that more Americans are now living in poverty than ever before, that wealth and income inequality in the U.S. is greater than in any other major country and that the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider.
October 16, 2013 |
Add another potential casualty of Washington's gridlock: the holiday shopping season. The congressional stalemate that brought about a partial government shutdown has rattled Americans already spooked by years of economic weakness. And the uncertainty could stretch into 2014, with debate continuing over the federal budget and debt limit. The shaky consumer confidence is pummeling sales forecasts for the holiday season, a crucial period that can account for up to 40% of a retailer's annual revenue.
October 12, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Efforts to reopen the government and avert a default on the nation's debt rested in the hands of the Senate's top leaders after talks between House Republicans and the White House broke down Saturday. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sat down to negotiate for the first time since the 12-day-old government shutdown began, but there were no indications they had made significant progress. Still, Senate leaders made plans for a rare Sunday session in case they reach a deal, while the House adjourned for the weekend after a brief and at times chaotic session.
September 26, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Options for keeping the federal government open narrowed Thursday as some of the most conservative Republicans in the House rebuffed proposals from Speaker John A. Boehner, who had aimed to break a stalemate over the federal budget. The opposition from conservatives to any measures that fall short of their goals of cutting federal spending or dismantling President Obama's healthcare law left the Ohio Republican with little room to maneuver as a Monday night deadline approached for providing money to keep federal agencies running.