By Heidi Przybyla and Peter Cook December 05, 2013
U.S. budget negotiators plan to work this weekend from a shrinking menu of options to ease automatic spending cuts for as little as one year amid objections from some groups and lawmakers, said people familiar with the talks.
A potential compromise being crafted by the two leaders of a 29-member panel is drawing protests from Democrats and also from groups including federal employees, who could contribute more to their pensions under the proposal, and airlines, which could face higher fees. Some Republicans are concerned that a bipartisan deal will replace spending cuts set in law with promises of future savings that might not be realized.
Representative Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray, the lead negotiators, probably won’t find it easier to reach a deal by narrowing the options, said Maryland Representative Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.
“This has been a negotiation of subtraction,” said Van Hollen, citing Republican opposition to ending corporate tax breaks, a proposal Democrats favor. Continue reading “Budget Talks Target One-Year Deal as Lawmakers Protest”
By Joe Davidson, Published: December 4
Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about the federal workplace that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.
Like the warm-up before a big game, both sides in the battle of the budget are getting ready. And federal employees have a lot at stake in the outcome.
The team in red — the Republicans — support cuts to federal retiree benefits as one way to close the gap between Uncle Sam’s spending and his income.
The team in blue — the Democrats — say the federal workforce has already paid enough, over and over again.
So as the Budget Conference Committee, set up to resolve differences in House and Senate spending plans, prepares to resume meeting next week, members of both parties are setting markers letting everyone know what they believe is acceptable and what is not. Continue reading “Federal employee retirement could be affected as rivals prepare for the battle of the budget”