September 30, 2013 |
Much of the federal government will shut down as of midnight. What will be closing, why and what impact will it have? Question: Why a shutdown? Answer: Every year, Congress has to approve laws, known as appropriations, that provide money for federal agencies. The new budget year begins on Oct. 1, and Congress has failed to pass a single one of the appropriations. An effort to pass a stop-gap bill to provide temporary money has stalled in Congress: Republicans have insisted they will not approve the stop-gap measure unless Democrats agree to block money for President Obama's healthcare law, and Democrats have refused to do that.
July 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A reporter recently asked the National Security Agency's chief a blunt question: Why can't he come up with a better example of a terrorism plot foiled through the bulk collection of U.S. phone records? In the weeks since Edward Snowden disclosed that the NSA had been collecting and storing the calling histories of nearly every American, NSA Director Keith Alexander and other U.S. officials have cited only one case as having been discovered exclusively by searching those records: some San Diego men who sent $8,500 to Al Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 23, 2013 |
Democrats and special interests have a long wish list of government programs they want to spend more on now that California's budget crisis has faded. They hope to use the latest report from the nonpartisan legislative analyst, who forecast more tax revenue than Gov. Jerry Brown has predicted, as ammunition to support their spending increases. In his Thursday column, George Skelton plots out how he would use the money if he were handed the purse strings. "The politicians should break out the checkbook for at least one new expenditure: restoring adult dental care for poor people," he writes.
May 14, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The federal deficit is shrinking more quickly than expected, and the government's long-term debt has largely stabilized for the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday in a report that could strengthen the Obama administration's hand in the budget battles with congressional Republicans. The budget office continues to say the federal government faces a long-range budget problem - mostly caused by the costs of an aging population - but its new forecast pushes the crunch point for that problem off into a considerably more distant future: well after the 2020 presidential election.
March 22, 2013 |
Over the last two years, President Obama and Congress have put the country on track to reduce projected federal budget deficits by nearly $4 trillion. Yet when that process began, in early 2011, only about 12% of Americans in Gallup polls cited federal debt as the nation's most important problem. Two to three times as many cited unemployment and jobs as the biggest challenge facing the country. So why did policymakers focus so intently on the deficit issue? One reason may be that the small minority that saw the deficit as the nation's priority had more clout than the majority that didn't.
March 12, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama's public push to restore relations with his congressional colleagues entered its second stage - the luncheon phase - Tuesday, when he conferred with Senate Democrats for the first of four midday meetings on Capitol Hill this week. Obama gathered with his allies for more than an hour at their weekly, closed-door strategy session at the Capitol. Top on the president's agenda is his effort to resolve the budget fight with congressional Republicans, as well as efforts to pass immigration reform and gun control.