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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 ...

Coming to A State Near You: Big Spending Cuts

February 25, 2013 The White House is trying to raise pressure on Congress to cancel automatic spending cuts by releasing the most detailed accounting to date of how the reductions would hit in the 50 states. The cuts, known as the sequester, take effect on March 1. Among the highlights of the White ...

Analysis: New Simpson-Bowles Plan Overstates the Deficit Problem

February 20, 2013 Deficit hawks Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles just don’t quit. The duo unveiled the latest iteration of their deficit-reduction plan on Tuesday, which calls for $2.4 trillion in cuts over 10 years — yet another chapter in their ongoing debt campaign that has not gained much political traction since 2010. ...