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 18, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - It was bound to happen: As the "sequester" budget cuts are felt around the country, lawmakers are having second thoughts - and are trying to tinker with them. On a routine spending bill, senators filed more than 125 amendments that would have reopened the White House to tours, shielded meat inspectors from furloughs and kept air traffic control towers staffed, among other moves. The attempts to rearrange the across-the-board cuts filed by senators on both sides of the political aisle had stalled the measure, which is needed to keep the government running after March 27. Without approval of the stopgap spending bill, the government would shut down, a prospect lawmakers and President Obama have said they want to avoid.
March 6, 2013
House Republicans often complain that Senate Democrats have been lax on fiscal matters because they haven't approved a budget resolution since 2009. But those resolutions are largely symbolic; the real spending decisions are made in the dozen appropriations bills that Congress is supposed to pass by Oct. 1, the start of the new fiscal year. And on that score, the House GOP leadership failed miserably last year, and is about to do so again. This week the leadership plans to bring up a bill to fund the federal government's operations for the final six months of fiscal 2013.
March 1, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- President Obama and congressional leaders huddled in the Oval Office on Friday morning but the last-ditch effort failed to produce a compromise to forestall $85 billion in automatic spending cuts all sides say they want to avoid. The meeting, which lasted less than an hour, yielded no new plan to dodge a series of across-the-board budget cuts due to begin hitting most federal agencies and programs at midnight Friday....
March 1, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - After weeks of increasingly dire warnings, the White House scrambled to adjust to the political and economic reality of deep and indiscriminate spending cuts that kicked in Friday and would, over time, hinder the economic recovery. In a sign that the warnings may have gone too far, President Obama sought to dial back some of the rhetoric. Most Americans, he said, won't immediately feel the effects of the complex process known as sequestration, which is expected to unfold like a slow-motion budgetary car crash.
February 28, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - With the "sequester" cuts all but certain, congressional Republicans are turning to the next battle with President Obama: locking in the cuts for the rest of the year in a strategy that is likely to face opposition in the Senate, and which could lead to a government shutdown. House Republicans meeting behind closed doors Wednesday appeared to coalesce around the next phase of their austerity campaign, despite divisions among lawmakers who have struggled to find a common message on the sequester cuts.