Fiscal cliff deal: No comfort to feds

Fiscal cliff deal: No comfort to feds

Jan. 7, 2013 – 07:22AM   |

By STEPHEN LOSEY and SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
 Echoing the sentiments of other Congressional Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signaled in an opinion piece posted on Yahoo News' website last week that the GOP will use the looming debt ceiling showdown to shrink spending.
Echoing the sentiments of other Congressional Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signaled in an opinion piece posted on Yahoo News‘ website last week that the GOP will use the looming debt ceiling showdown to shrink spending. (AFP)

The fiscal cliff deal, struck last week, delayed steep sequestration budget cuts for two months, but it does virtually nothing to solve the major problems facing federal employees.

Instead, it sets the stage for a series of new “cliffs” within the next couple of months: a needed increase in the nation’s debt ceiling by late February; steep sequestration budget cuts due to hit March 1; and the March 27 expiration of the current government spending bill. Continue reading “Fiscal cliff deal: No comfort to feds”

Federal agencies bracing for cuts after ‘fiscal cliff’ deal

Federal agencies bracing for cuts after ‘fiscal cliff’ deal

Video: President Obama is praising the bill that staves off the “fiscal cliff” tax hikes and spending cuts. The House of Representatives followed the Senate’s lead and passed the bill late Tuesday.

By and , Published: January 2

The fiscal pact Congress reached hours into the new year will delay $109 billion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts for two months. But it will make a down payment on those reductions that will affect federal operations this year and next.

The eleventh-hour agreement to avoid a “fiscal cliff” of higher taxes put off the major cuts known as a sequester until March 1, when another showdown is expected over the federal

Fiscal compromise sets stage for new year of mini-cliffs

Fiscal compromise sets stage for new year of mini-cliffs

Tom Shoop

This article has been updated.

My, my, how far lawmakers’ ambitions for the fiscal cliff negotiations have fallen in the past two weeks.

Aiming to pull the country back from the fiscal cliff, the Senate early Tuesday easily approved a measure that would delay automatic budget cuts known as the “sequester” and raise taxes on household income above $450,000. The deal, worked out between the White House and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, still needs approval by the House. Continue reading “Fiscal compromise sets stage for new year of mini-cliffs”

2013? Poll finds Americans weary and wary

2013? Poll finds Americans weary and wary

Even as the economic outlook brightens a bit, Americans’ view of the nation’s future, its leaders and its fundamental promise have darkened.

PITTSBURGH — Remember that wave of optimism and good feeling that typically greets a presidential inauguration, not to mention a new year?

This time, it’s hard to find.

Battered by an economy that is only slow recovering — and soured by the spectacle of Washington dysfunction in the “fiscal cliff” debate — views of the nation’s future and its fundamental promise have darkened in the four years since Barack Obama’s first inauguration.

Then, even during an unfolding financial crisis, Americans believed by a double-digit margin that it was likely young people would have a better life than their parents, one facet of the classic American dream. Now, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds they’re narrowly inclined to say that’s not likely. By 50%-47%, respondents say the country’s best years are behind us.

“I’m pessimistic about where the country is and where it’s going,” says Rick Rogoff, 55, the owner of a small food-service company here, ticking off the reasons why. “From the cost of living to the quality of health care to inflation to the politics of the country — the partisanship, it’s endless. I’m not really a pessimist. I’m a realist. I look at the situation and it’s hard to find things that are good.”

Even those with a more upbeat perspective sound less than confident. “I’m optimistic,” Tamera Bryant, 39, the auditor for a non-profit organization, says of Obama’s next four years, “but I think it’s going to be a fight.” Continue reading “2013? Poll finds Americans weary and wary”

Congress OKs cliff deal, signaling future fights

Congress OKs cliff deal, signaling future fights

 ALAN FRAM | January 2, 2013 07:54 AM EST |

WASHINGTON — Congress’ excruciating, extraordinary New Year‘s Day approval of a compromise averting a prolonged tumble off the fiscal cliff hands President Barack Obama most of the tax boosts on the rich that he campaigned on. It also prevents House Republicans from facing blame for blocking tax cuts for most American households, though most GOP lawmakers parted ways with Speaker John Boehner and opposed the measure.

Passage also lays the groundwork for future battles between the two sides over federal spending and debt.

Capping a holiday season political spectacle that featured enough high and low notes for a Broadway musical, the GOP-run House voted final approval for the measure by 257-167 late Tuesday. That came after the Democratic-led Senate used a wee-hours 89-8 roll call to assent to the bill, belying the partisan brinkmanship that colored much of the path to the final deal.

“A central promise of my campaign for president was to change the tax code that was too skewed towards the wealthy at the expense of working middle-class Americans,” Obama said at the White House before flying to Hawaii to resume his holiday break. “Tonight we’ve done that.” Continue reading “Congress OKs cliff deal, signaling future fights”