Feds’ Tension Over Possible Pension Changes Escalates

Feds’ Tension Over Possible Pension Changes Escalates

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. Carolyn Kaster/AP

Federal employees will find out this week — as soon as Tuesday — whether budget negotiators plan to push for changes to their pension benefits as part of a deal to offset some of the sequester spending cuts.

The congressional budget conference committee led by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has until Dec. 13 to present its recommendations for rolling back the automatic spending cuts and extending the continuing resolution funding the government through Jan. 15, 2014. A “small” deal, rather than a grand bargain over tax and entitlement reforms, is expected; the panel is considering requiring federal employees to contribute 1.2 percent more to their pensions, which would save about $20 billion over 10 years, according to the White House and the Congressional Budget Office. The committee reportedly would use those savings to help pay for a partial repeal of the sequester. Continue reading “Feds’ Tension Over Possible Pension Changes Escalates”

Cardin expresses outrage over fed worker cuts

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., on Capitol Hill. (Getty Images )
December 06, 2013|By John Fritze | The Baltimore Sun

Sen. Ben Cardin sent a letter to Democratic Senate leaders Thursday (December 06, 2013 Senator Cardin Letter to Senator Reid re Budget Agreement Federal Workers) expressing outrage over reports that a budget deal developing in Congress may include further cuts to the federal workforce — the latest member of Maryland’s delegation to push back on the possibilities of those cuts.

Lawmakers in states with a high concentration of federal employees are reacting to rumors that negotiators are considering a 5.5 percentage point increase in how much federal employees would contribute toward retirement plans. Maryland is home to some 300,000 federal workers. Continue reading “Cardin expresses outrage over fed worker cuts”

Reid rules out grand bargain

By Erik Wasson – 10/24/13 04:24 PM ET

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday he regrets being “too lenient” in previous budget talks with Republicans.

Reid said he and President Obama were too willing to compromise in talks that took place in 2011 and 2012, and that he intends to drive a harder bargain going forward.

“If you give a bully a dollar today, they ask for a dollar and a half tomorrow,” he said in a radio interview with Nevada’s KNPR. “It has taken a while for all my caucus to come to that understanding. And quite frankly, the president, wonderful man that he is, he doesn’t like confrontation and he likes to work things out with people.

”“I was too lenient. Don’t blame it all on him,” Reid added. He also ruled out the possibility that a budget conference committee convening next week will reach a “grand bargain” that would cut entitlements, raise taxes and reduce spending.  Continue reading “Reid rules out grand bargain”

Both sides agree: No major budget deal foreseen

Both sides agree: No major budget deal foreseen

By ANDREW TAYLOR 6 hours ago
FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2013, photo, House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., laughs as he walks to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Forget a grand bargain. Reaching even a small budget deal will be a challenge when negotiators start meeting in an effort to salvage any kind of agreement in the aftermath of this month’s shutdown debacle and debt limit crisis. "If we focus on some big, grand bargain then we’re going to focus on our differences and both sides are going to require that the other side compromises some core principle and then we’ll get nothing done," Ryan, said in an interview on Oct. 24. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)
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FILE – In this Oct. 11, 2013, photo, House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., laughs as he walks to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Forget a grand bargain. Reaching even a small budget deal will be a challenge when negotiators start meeting in an effort to salvage any kind of agreement in the aftermath of this month’s shutdown debacle and debt limit crisis. “If we focus on some big, grand bargain then we’re going to focus on our differences and both sides are going to require that the other side compromises some core principle and then we’ll get nothing done,” Ryan, said in an interview on Oct. 24. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — On this, GOP budget guru Rep. Paul Ryan and top Senate Democrat Harry Reid can agree: There won’t be a “grand bargain” on the budget.

Instead, the Wisconsin Republican and the Nevada Democrat both say the best Washington can do in this bitterly partisan era of divided government is a small-ball bargain that tries to take the edge off of automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.

Official Capitol Hill negotiations start next week, but Ryan and Reid both weighed in Thursday to tamp down any expectations that the talks might forge a large-scale agreement where several previous high-level talks have failed. Continue reading “Both sides agree: No major budget deal foreseen”

Poll: 63% of Americans want Boehner out as speaker

Poll: 63% of Americans want Boehner out as speaker

On Politics Catalina Camia, USA TODAY 12:31 p.m. EDT October 21, 2013

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More than six in 10 Americans say Speaker John Boehner should be replaced as the top leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, a poll finds.

Fresh off a 16-day government shutdown that damaged the Republican Party in the eyes of many, 63% of adults said in the CNN/ORC International poll released Monday said Boehner, R-Ohio, should no longer wield the gavel. That compares with 30% who say Boehner should continue as speaker.

More than half of respondents, or 54%, say it’s “bad for the country” that Republicans control the House, according to the CNN/ORC poll. Continue reading “Poll: 63% of Americans want Boehner out as speaker”