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OPINION
February 28, 2013
Re “ How 'sequester' cuts are made can be telling ,” Feb. 27 Your reporter sure has shown character discernment - and had the courage to point it out. Finally, someone openly recognizes President Obama's penchant for shallow “showmanship.” Frank Diani Goleta, Calif. For all those who believe the “sequester” cuts are onerous, let me make a simple analogy. Say my annual income is $25,000, yet I spend $35,000 and owe $165,000 on my credit cards.
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BUSINESS
March 12, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
It's unsurprising if most Americans can't understand why job growth and economic expansion have been so lackluster since the Great Recession. It's because the country is still carrying around the dead weight of the sequester and other budget constraints passed in 2011 and imposed in earnest last year. The idea that the government shouldn't invest for job creation and economic growth has been a roadblock in the way of infrastructure construction, expanded preschool programs, and the rehiring of laid-off schoolteachers, police officers and firefighters.
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BUSINESS
April 7, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Despite predictions that sweeping federal budget cuts would lead to long wait times at the nation's airports, airline on-time performances did not change significantly during the busy spring break period. When a budget battle between Congress and the Obama administration boiled over in February, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano predicted that job furloughs and cuts in overtime pay to airport screeners and customs officers would result in airport gridlock and increase wait times by an hour or more.
NEWS
March 4, 2014 | By Jon Healey
Like many Democrats, President Obama greeted last December's budget deal the way a hungry child greets a carrot stick: It wasn't what he wanted, but it was acceptable under the circumstances. “This agreement doesn't include everything I'd like, and I know many Republicans feel the same way,” Obama said Dec. 10. “That's the nature of compromise. But it's a good sign that Democrats and Republicans in Congress were able to come together and break the cycle of shortsighted, crisis-driven decision-making to get this done.” But hey, that was 2013.
NEWS
February 25, 2013 | By Doyle McManus
Tired of the sequester yet? The automatic cuts to federal spending don't start until Friday, and even then their effects will only be gradual. But Washington is already in a frenzy over a crisis that the two parties have brought on themselves with a scheme that was -- as I noted in my Sunday column -- designed to be stupid. The two parties' campaigns over the meaning of the sequester began in earnest over the weekend. Until now, most Americans haven't paid much attention.
NEWS
February 21, 2013 | By Jon Healey
There's been little sign of movement by Democrats or Republicans toward a deal this week on the "sequester," the $85 billion across-the-board cuts in discretionary programs due to begin March 1. President Obama and congressional Democrats have stuck with their argument that the spending cuts should be replaced at least in part by higher taxes and reduced farm subsidies. And Republicans have resolutely rejected anything that looks like a tax hike. Nevertheless, the rhetoric about the sequester is intensifying, betraying how worried both sides are -- not about the cuts themselves, necessarily, but about the chance that the public would blame them for what ensues.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 23, 1995
Next time we sequester a jury we should sequester the lawyers for both sides too. RUPERT ESSINGER Santa Barbara
OPINION
February 27, 2013
Re “ Neither side blinks in budget standoff ,” Feb. 24, and “ White House turns up the volume ,” Feb. 26 From day one of President Obama's first term, the Republicans put into effect a political strategy of cheerleading for the failure of his governing, regardless of the harm their self-serving politics caused the country and the silent majority of its citizens. The evidence of this is overwhelming. It started with the “just say no” obstructionism in the Senate, and it evolved into a mantra of “no compromise” preached by extremist House Republicans who endorsed the blackmailing of the White House into the budget cuts compromise.
NEWS
February 25, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - With Washington stalemated over the coming “sequester,” one Republican lawmaker  suggested swapping the steep budget cuts for a rollback of President Obama's regulatory agenda as a way around the impasse. The idea is a new approach, one that shifts away from the Republican-held position that cuts alone can be used to solve the nation's deficit problems. It is a long-shot. “Republicans would be open to a plethora of alternatives,” said Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.)
OPINION
March 24, 2013 | Doyle McManus
Think the automatic budget cuts Congress ordered at the beginning of March - the so-called sequester - haven't caused any pain yet? Think again. Judging from the squeals we're hearing from members of Congress whose districts are threatened by cuts, the effects are intolerable. The complaints from Democrats, who never wanted the sequester to go into effect, were predictable. But some of the complaining comes from Republicans who welcomed the sequester as an overdue act of belt-tightening.
NEWS
January 16, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- Congress gave final approval Thursday to a $1-trillion spending bill, but not without a last-minute standoff in the Senate by tea party Republicans who opposed the measure. Conservative Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) kept senators in suspense throughout the afternoon as he considered his options for blocking the bipartisan measure, which was overwhelmingly approved Tuesday by the House. Eventually, the tea party opponents lost their fight and the measure was approved on a lopsided vote, 72-26.
OPINION
December 20, 2013 | By Andrew Cockburn
"Whenever a fellow tells me he is bipartisan," said Harry Truman, "I know he is going to vote against me. " The hosannas to bipartisanship accompanying the budget deal passed this week should have served as fair warning to the rest of us that we lost this vote. True, politicians and commentators vied to hail the sacrifices that had been made on both sides of the aisle for the greater cause of "restoring public faith in the budget process" and thereby bolster Congress' poll ratings. In reality, there was one clear winner: the bipartisan defense lobby, a category that does not apparently include wounded veterans, who must give up some of their pensions for the sake of restoring that public faith, not to mention funding the extra $22 billion for defense that will flow inexorably into the pockets of Lockheed (stock already up 55% this year)
OPINION
December 12, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
After the ineptitude and intransigence on display in October's government shutdown, congressional leaders had nowhere to go but up. And so they have, modestly. Top members of the House and Senate budget committees struck a deal this week that would set funding limits for the federal government through September 2015, averting some cuts to defense and domestic priorities without increasing the deficit. Although the details are disappointing, it's noteworthy and welcome that a leading Senate liberal and a House conservative found a common path forward, even if it's not an ambitious one. The deal negotiated by Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.)
NATIONAL
December 11, 2013 | Lisa Mascaro
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)
NEWS
December 10, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - Congressional negotiators reached a budget deal Tuesday that would end the possibility of another government shutdown for the next two years. But the agreement faced strong opposition from conservative groups that could jeopardize its prospects of passage in the House. "Because of this deal, the budget process can now stop lurching from crisis to crisis," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee. Her Republican counterpart, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.)
NEWS
December 4, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - Budget negotiators who are racing to prevent another government shutdown in the new year are close to a mini-deal that could go to the House for a vote as soon as next week. The contours of the agreement being crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, the party's former vice presidential nominee, and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, the budget chairwoman, are bound to disappoint tea party conservatives, making its prospects for passage uncertain. Congress faces a Dec. 13 deadline to come up with a package before the House recesses.
NEWS
March 18, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - It was bound to happen: As the sequester budget cuts are felt around the country, lawmakers are having second thoughts - and trying to tinker with them in a way that could lead to a full-scale government shutdown. Senators want to load up a routine spending bill with provisions to reopen the White House to tours, shield meat inspectors from furloughs and keep air traffic control towers staffed, among other changes that would rearrange the across-the-board cuts. Nearly 100 amendments have been filed by senators on both sides of the political aisle, stalling the measure that is needed to keep the government running after March 27. Without approval, the government would shut down, a prospect lawmakers and President Obama have said they want to avoid.
NEWS
February 25, 2013 | By Jon Healey
This post has been updated, as indicated below. Congressional Republicans may have found a way to force Democrats to accept the sequester -- for this year, at least -- thanks in part to labor protections won by federal employee unions. The sequester is scheduled to go into effect March 1, imposing $85 billion worth of across-the-board cuts on most federal discretionary spending programs. President Obama has warned that the cuts will shorten the hours of FBI and Border Patrol agents, air-traffic controllers and federal prosecutors, hurting public safety and causing longer waits at airports and at customs.
NATIONAL
December 4, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro and Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON - The contours of a mini-deal to avert another government shutdown emerged Wednesday, a rare glimmer of bipartisanship in a Congress noted for division and dysfunction. Crafted by Republican Rep. Paul D. Ryan, the party's former vice presidential nominee, and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, the budget chairwoman, the proposed compromise could go before the House for a vote as soon as next week. But prospects for passage remain murky, and tea party conservatives are already voicing familiar concerns.
NEWS
November 19, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- The congressional committee that is trying to negotiate a deal to prevent the next government shutdown has run into a roadblock: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell, the GOP minority leader, made the trek across the Capitol on Tuesday to tell a private session of House Republicans that his preference is not to give in when it comes to easing up on the mandatory budget cuts that are set to take effect Jan. 15. “I wish them well,” McConnell said about the bipartisan House-Senate committee trying to craft a deal.
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