Budget Talks Target One-Year Deal as Lawmakers Protest

Budget Talks Target One-Year Deal as Lawmakers Protest

By Heidi Przybyla and Peter Cook December 05, 2013

Budget Talks Narrow to One Year Deal as Lawmakers ProtestU.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”

Do-Nothing Congress Dithers on Budget as Deadline Nears

By Heidi Przybyla & Brian Wingfield – Nov 28, 2013 11:00 PM CT
Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo
Rear Adm. Mike Franken, Chief of Legislative Affairs for the Secretary of the Navy, left, speaks with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Nov. 7, 2013, prior to Greenert testifying before the Senate Armed Service Committee hearing on the impact of sequestration on nation defense.

Congress’s latest attempt at crafting a budget plan is on track to end up the same way as others have in the past decade: with little or no agreement.

Do-Nothing Congress Dithers on Budget as Panel’s Deadline Nears

The Capitol building in Washington,. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Negotiators have little chance of breaking this string of futility, even after a 16-day government shutdown in October that cost the U.S. economy $24 billion. If they do, it’ll only be to curb automatic spending cuts, including $19 billion that hits the Pentagon starting in January.

Now budget experts, labor unions and business groups are saying enough’s enough, and questioning why lawmakers can’t live within their means the way ordinary Americans do and instead lurch from one budget standoff to the next. Continue reading “Do-Nothing Congress Dithers on Budget as Deadline Nears”

Congress Faces a Stark Choice: Sequester or Shutdown

Congress Faces a Stark Choice: Sequester or Shutdown

 House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray Jacquelyn Martin/AP File Photo

Lawmakers in both parties could face a dangerous political dilemma after they return to Washington: Either endorse a second round of damaging sequester cuts or prepare for another government shutdown.

The situation is that stark, and it’s coming on fast.

Budget negotiators led by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray are racing to beat a Dec. 13 deadline to draft a deal that would keep the government open beyond Jan. 15.

They could get it done. Even House Speaker John Boehner says he’s hopeful. But other lawmakers and aides say the odds are not good, and that’s why House Republicans are now prepared to pass a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government at the $966 billion level that’s dictated by the Budget Control Act, ushering in round two of the hated sequester cuts. Continue reading “Congress Faces a Stark Choice: Sequester or Shutdown”

Paul Ryan’s bipartisan budget moment?

Paul Ryan’s bipartisan budget moment?

By: Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
December 4, 2013 05:04 AM EST

Paul Ryan is pictured. | AP Photo

Paul Ryan’s bold budget documents have helped shape House Republicans for a half-dozen years.

They’ve been slabs of red meat to the Republican base but have served little practical purpose, as differences have only deepened with the Democratic Senate.

But now, he and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) appear to be closing in on a bipartisan budget deal. And for the first time in his 14 years in Congress, the Wisconsin Republican has a chance to shepherd a major bill with his name on it into law, giving him an opportunity to shape part of the 2014 election and, perhaps, his own political image as he considers a possible 2016 White House bid. Continue reading “Paul Ryan’s bipartisan budget moment?”

Bill would end pensions for new feds

Bill would end pensions for new feds

Nov. 18, 2013 – 06:00AM   |  By SEAN REILLY   |
Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing Recent IRSSen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., questions current and former IRS employees May 21 before the Senate Finance Committee in Washington. (Getty Images)

Newly hired federal employees would not be eligible for traditional pensions under a bill reintroduced last week by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and two colleagues.

The measure, which would also apply to new members of Congress, would end the defined benefit portion of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) for employees who come on board starting six months after it is signed into law, according to a news release from Burr’s office.

New federal employees could still participate in the Thrift Savings Plan,the federal government’s equivalent of a 401(k)-type program under which agencies match employees’ contributions up to 5 percent of their salaries.

Continue reading “Bill would end pensions for new feds”

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