Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Congressís Last Chance to Avoid a Fiscal Disaster
Fiscal Times ^ | 12/9/2013 | Eric Pianin, Rob Garver

Posted on 12/09/2013 4:04:06 AM PST by markomalley

Momentum is building for a two-year bipartisan budget deal by the end of the week as Congress appears determined to end a dismal legislative and political year on something of a high note.

Barely one in ten Americans approves of the performance of Congress, according to a recent Gallup poll, and lawmakers this year enacted fewer than 60 laws in the first 11 months of the year, making the first session of the 113th Congress the least productive ever.

Related: Enter New Budget Deal, Exit Loathsome Sequester

With the House bumping up against a Friday adjournment, Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Budget Committee chief Paul Ryan (R-WI) are putting the finishing touches on a modest deal that would cancel the sequester and boost overall discretionary defense and domestic spending by $65 billion throughout fiscal 2014 and 2015.

(video at link)

“Chairman Murray continues to work with Chairman Ryan and the staff continued to work through the weekend,” Eli Zupnick, Murray’s chief spokesman said late Friday. “She remains hopeful that they can reach an agreement by the deadline”  this week.

For sure, there will be some last minute drama, as some House Democrats threaten to hold out unless emergency unemployment benefits are extended and negotiators soften plans to force federal employees to pick up a larger share of their pension costs.

Related - Federal Budget: 10 Cuts That Would Save the Most

Moreover, 22 conservative House Republicans are digging in against the emerging budget deal, urging House Speaker John Boehner to bring up a “clean” continuing resolution to fund the government at the much lower sequester level when the current authorization expires on Jan. 15.

Another wild card are Republican senators, still stinging from the Democrats’ party-line vote to strip them of the ability to filibuster most presidential nominees. A source close to several Republicans in the Senate said that in the regularly scheduled Tuesday policy lunch, GOP Senators expect to discuss whether and how to retaliate against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Even so, GOP senators will be reluctant to take the blame for another government shutdown, particularly heading into the 2014 mid-term election campaigns.  This means Congress must pass a spending measure by early next year.

The bottom line is that no one seriously thinks there will be another budget and debt ceiling crisis any time soon, but House Republican and Democratic leaders will have to rein in their members this week to get something passed. This is something Boehner, in particular, has struggled with in the past. But the amount of political  damage the recent shutdown did to the Republican party this Fall has most observers convinced that he’ll have the necessary leverage to keep all but the most fractious members of the GOP caucus in line.

Related - November’s Great Jobs Report Leaves a Lot to Be Desired

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is sympathetic to her members’ efforts to protect federal workers from onerous new pension costs proposed by Ryan. And Murray is pressing to include an extension of emergency unemployment benefits as part of the budget agreement. But neither is willing to allow the budget deal to bite the dust over those issues.

The federal program to supplement state unemployment insurance is scheduled to end on Dec. 31, which would immediately cut off an estimated 1.3 million beneficiaries who have received benefits beyond the state-level limits, according to one estimate. Boehner said last week he was willing to entertain a White House proposal for extending unemployment insurance, but not as part of the budget agreement.

There’s no chance Boehner would heed the call of hardline conservatives to scrap the budget deal in favor of simply kicking the can down the road again with a short-term spending measure. The 22 GOP signatories say they want to avoid another confrontation and contend that Democrats would be responsible for a shutdown if they refuse to keep government spending at levels established under current law.

The 2011 Budget Control Act that ended a crisis over the debt ceiling imposed tough annual spending caps over the coming decade and included a sequester – or automatic across the board spending cuts – to enforce those caps. While the caps and sequester are popular among some conservatives, many other Republicans and Democrats were unhappy with cuts to defense and pet domestic programs.

Related - Murray and Ryan Race the Clock for New Budget Deal

"The Budget Control Act is the law of the land," the lawmakers wrote. "Our Democrat colleagues are now threatening to shut the government down in order to change that. We should not permit that to happen. Again, we encourage you to bring a clean CR to the floor."

The letter was drafted and circulated by Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Steve Scalise (R-LA). It began circulating Thursday and efforts will continue to gather signatures today.

The Budget Control Act capped discretionary spending in 2014 at $967 billion. The emerging budget deal would pump an additional $45 billion into spending by the Pentagon and domestic agencies and programs through next Sept. 30, and about $20 billion more for fiscal 2015.

The emerging deal would raise overall discretionary spending (other than for mandatory programs and interest on the debt) to slightly more than $1 trillion in both fiscal 2014 and 2015, according to sources. It would include a series of revenue raisers other than tax increases to offset the cost of the additional spending over a ten year period.

The House will vote on the plan by Friday, when it plans to adjourn for the remainder of the year. The Senate is scheduled to return next week, when it would vote on the deal.

Ryan has previously proposed $130 billion in cuts over a decade by asking federal workers to pay more into their pension programs, while Obama has previously proposed a level around $20 billion. Ryan is pushing for that $20 billion level, while Murray is trying to reduce the spending cuts if she can’t kill it altogether, according to aides

Once a budget conference agreement is in hand, House and Senate Appropriations Committee members will carve up the available funds into a giant spending bill that would cover most of the government agencies and programs for the remainder of the fiscal year that ends next Sept. 30. The Senate and House likely would take up that omnibus spending bill early next month, in time to meet a Jan, 15 deadline set by law.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS:
Just shut the d@mned place down. And don't wimp out this time.
1 posted on 12/09/2013 4:04:06 AM PST by markomalley
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: markomalley

Long past time for the emergence of a NEW political party.

We could call it either the Tea Party or Oath Keepers Party.


2 posted on 12/09/2013 4:11:09 AM PST by IbJensen (Liberals are like Slinkies, good for nothing, but you smile as you push them down the stairs.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

I’ve become convinced that there is virtually no one in Washington DC that really gives a flip about our financial situation.

They are so inured in the financial irresponsibility it takes to maintain their power and perks they cannot ever again be trusted by citizens. They will do anything and everything to maintain their status quo, even to the extent of withering away this country’s freedoms as sacrifices.

America will end up like a crack addict, rummaging through the drawers, couch cushions and change trays throughout its house to satisfy that last fix of power.

Tyrants, ideologues, appeasers, users, losers and abusers all banded together to rape the last bit of wealth and treasure, both the tangible and intangible, this country has.


3 posted on 12/09/2013 4:12:21 AM PST by Gaffer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

This country won’t be fixed at the ballot box or by politicians. We are too far gone for that.

In fact, always thinking we can wait out the tyranny 2 or 4 years from now has put us in this situation.

Nobody is going to do anything serious in the budget deal. It will be a rubber stamp with some silly concession saving face for the GOP.


4 posted on 12/09/2013 4:17:05 AM PST by dforest
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

The sequester was Elmer Fudd’s idea. He got his tax increases; Conservatives got the promise of spending cuts IN TOTAL of 854 billion over TEN years, hardly a rounding error in the federal budget. The ink wasn’t dry on the paper when the DEMs started blaming the GOP for the “dramatic” cuts.

Now the promise is broken, but taxes went up. A plague on both their houses. I agree, shut the d@mned place down. It’s not like they’re earning their salary.


5 posted on 12/09/2013 4:21:01 AM PST by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners. And to the NSA trolls, FU)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

How can they POSSIBLY be discussing RAISING SPENDING?


6 posted on 12/09/2013 4:23:29 AM PST by Jim Noble (When strong, avoid them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dforest

Agreed.

Only after a total collapse will anything be done.


7 posted on 12/09/2013 4:57:06 AM PST by EricT. (Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Big brother is watching you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

If Congress passes law after law, year after year... at what point do we have law bloat to the point that Freedom and Liberty die? I’d say we have already passed that rubicon.


8 posted on 12/09/2013 5:00:56 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS! BETTER DEAD THAN RED!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley
lawmakers this year enacted fewer than 60 laws in the first 11 months of the year, making the first session of the 113th Congress the least productive ever.

They make it sound like congress not passing even more stupid laws is a bad thing!

9 posted on 12/09/2013 5:17:15 AM PST by Sooth2222 ("Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of congress. But I repeat myself." M.Twain)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sooth2222

Precisely! Bump.


10 posted on 12/09/2013 5:27:25 AM PST by upchuck (I can't stand people that don't know the difference between 'than' and 'then.' Their so stupid...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: IbJensen

Call it anything I am ready to join up.

We can all see the Republicans will cave in again on this.


11 posted on 12/09/2013 5:34:31 AM PST by Venturer (Half Staff the Flag of the US for Terrorists.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: LibLieSlayer

I am of the same opinion. We are way past the point where America is the land of the free.

Obamacare is totally unconstitutional and the Supreme Court is a joke. The Congress is filled with Millionaires out for more perks for themselves, the nation is run by a Mandela wannabee.

Ted Cruz going to the terrorists funeral put me over the edge this morning. F him too.

We have no one fit to lead us.


12 posted on 12/09/2013 5:38:29 AM PST by Venturer (Half Staff the Flag of the US for Terrorists.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

With Patty Murray involved our country is doomed.


13 posted on 12/09/2013 5:39:29 AM PST by monocle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jim Noble
How can they POSSIBLY be discussing RAISING SPENDING?

Because neither party is interested in cutting spending.

14 posted on 12/09/2013 5:48:45 AM PST by DoodleDawg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: dforest
This country won’t be fixed at the ballot box or by politicians. We are too far gone for that.

In my opinion, correct! The last chance for that was on November 6,2012. However, again, in my opinion, most of the sheep are not interested in fixing the Country. They see nothing wrong. They gas tanks are full, their bongs are full, they have cold beer in the fridge, courtesy of their EBT cards, and they get NFL football and cable t.v. all paid for with their EBT card. They call and text on their free omamaphones. Their section 8 rent is paid by the taxpayers, should they need it, they have free medical care. They have been anesthetized by the EBT cards and the Democrat controlled media continues to assure them all is well.

Nobody is going to do anything serious in the budget deal. It will be a rubber stamp with some silly concession saving face for the GOP.

Again, in my opinion, correct Again, in my opinion, correct.

15 posted on 12/09/2013 6:02:35 AM PST by sport
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

This shows you just how broad the divide is in this country. Plus, I think it has been a great year. I love a federal law stalemate. Give me more obstruction and fewer laws every year. Keep the sequester in place.

Ryan’s nuts if he thinks $130 billion over ten years is real. That’s $13 billion a year. What a joke. The fact is where not going to get real budget reform without taking the Senate and strengthening ourselves in the House.


16 posted on 12/09/2013 6:07:46 AM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

God forbid any real cost cutting should continue.


17 posted on 12/09/2013 7:50:14 AM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: markomalley

Spend, spend, spend. It’s all they know. Both parties suck badly.


18 posted on 12/09/2013 10:12:26 AM PST by VRWC For Truth (Roberts has perverted the Constitution)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson