Fissure opens between GOP lawmakers who say spending on the military is necessary to recover from a decade of war, and fiscal hawks focused on reducing the deficit.
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Agency ended fiscal 2010 $8.5 billion in the red, despite deep reductions in personnel and hours.
Jacob Lew remains in limbo as the Obama administration gets to work on the fiscal 2012 budget.
Towns moves to keep the position, vowing he will “form a bulwark against any politically motivated investigations” by Republicans.
Aides call the GOP vote on the ban next week a toss-up.
Unit is expected to save $2.3 billion over five years by buying common goods and services in bulk.
Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., says move could save $35 billion.
Observers are skeptical the panel will be able to reach a consensus, because 14 of the 18 members need to support any recommendations.
Federal workers and contractors would take a hit under draft plan.
The midterms were partly a referendum on the party in power, partly a plunge after Democrats’ back-to-back surges in 2006 and 2008, and partly a search for political balance.