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What to Expect in Obama’s Budget

April 9, 2013 If the budgets passed by Senate Democrats and House Republicans offered up competing worldviews, then President Obama will add a third entry to the mix on Wednesday as the White House unveils its spending plan for fiscal year 2014. The major headline news is already known: Obama will offer to ...

House Republicans Map Out Strategy for Debt-Ceiling Battle

April 5, 2013 When House Republicans return from recess next week, one of their top priorities will be charting out the next fiscal battle -- the debt ceiling. Tea party members view this as a key time to extract serious cuts to entitlement programs from President Obama and the Democrats. “This is going ...

Short-Term Flexibility Won't Help Long-Term Impact of Sequestration

March 27, 2013 President Obama signed legislation Tuesday to keep the government funded through the end of September and to give greater flexibility to a handful of agencies as they roll out the mandated across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration. Still, this flexibility does not change the dollars and cents of the equation, ...

Analysis: Alternative House GOP Budget Makes Faster, Deeper Cuts

March 19, 2013 Anything you can cut, we can cut deeper. That seemed to be the message Monday from the Republican Study Committee, which unveiled an alternative budget for fiscal year 2014 that Chairman Steve Scalise of Louisiana described as “fairer and simpler” than other competing versions, including the one introduced last week ...

New Hope for a Grand Bargain

March 15, 2013 Washington was abuzz this week about the possibility of a grand bargain, and although most people, not just cynics, will dismiss all this as posturing, there really is some basis for optimism this time. Senate Democrats released their first budget since 2009, even if it was more than a little ...

Why the Senate Democrats' Budget Will Be Vague

March 11, 2013 The GOP has long hoped that by prodding the Senate majority to produce a budget, it could force Democrats to commit to paper some unpopular political choices on spending cuts and health care programs. But if Republicans want specifics this spring, they’ll have to wait. The Senate Democrats’ budget, scheduled ...

Obama's Dinner With Senators Eases Tensions but Doesn't Fix the Budget

March 8, 2013 It turns out that a fancy dinner can ease tensions between even long-avowed frenemies. That was the Republican senators’ takeaway from their roughly two-hour dinner on Wednesday night with President Obama at the Jefferson Hotel. Among the topics discussed: Medicare and Social Security spending; tax reform; and the need for ...

Furloughs Come to Main Street

March 1, 2013 Washington is the capital of the federal workforce, so it’s understandable that furlough fright is strongest here. What will happen to the tide of commuters coursing along K Street or Rock Creek Parkway every morning? But for federal agencies, the sequester is manifest destiny. The U.S. government’s workforce is scattered ...

Sequester Fears May Be Overhyped, Overblown and Overly Politicized

February 28, 2013 Let’s be clear about one thing: The across-the-board spending cuts known as the "sequester” aren’t a doomsday scenario, or a meteorite that will blow up the economy. Teachers, FBI agents, and Border Patrol officers will not get fired tomorrow, when the sequester kicks in. The Internal Revenue Service will still ...

Jack Lew Could Be Treasury Secretary by the Weekend, but His First Moves Are Unclear

February 26, 2013 So far, the Senate proceedings on President Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary, Jacob Lew, have been surprisingly free of political fireworks, which could pave the way for a confirmation vote by the end of the week. The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on Lew’s nomination Tuesday morning, with ...