White House, GOP strike budget deal

White House, GOP strike budget deal

By Alexander Bolton and Sarah Ferris – 10/26/15 08:28 PM EDT

Senior White House officials and congressional leaders have struck a deal to raise the debt limit and set the federal budget for the next two years, say sources familiar with the talks.

The deal would extend the debt ceiling to March 2017 and bust budget limits set by a 2011 agreement that imposed a decade of reduced spending known as sequestration on the government.

It would raise those caps by a total of $112 billion in fiscal 2016 and 2017, according to a person briefed on the agreement.

Those funds would be divided equally between defense and nondefense spending, charting a compromise between Republican defense hawks pushing for more Pentagon spending and Democrats who wanted more spending on domestic programs as well. Continue reading “White House, GOP strike budget deal”

White House, GOP near two-year budget deal

White House, GOP near two-year budget deal

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By Alexander Bolton – 10/26/15 12:35 PM EDT

Senior White House officials and congressional leaders are nearing a deal to raise the debt limit and set the budget for the next two years, say sources familiar with the talks.

The agreement is not yet final as negotiators still need to settle a dispute over controversial policy riders, but congressional leaders hope to announce something Monday evening, according to a Senate source. The deal would cover the 2016 and 2017 budget years. Continue reading “White House, GOP near two-year budget deal”

That Good Ol’ Patronage System!

By John J. O’Grady, President, Local 704, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE Local 704), Chicago, Illinois

The word “patronage” is derived from the Latin word patronus for patronPatronage was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus (patron) and his client.  The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. The patronus was the protector, sponsor, and benefactor of the client; the technical term for this protection was patrocinium.   Benefits a patron might confer include legal representation in court, loans of money, influencing business deals or marriages, and supporting a client’s candidacy for political office.  In return, the client was expected to offer his services to his patron as needed.

The Federal bureaucracy in the years after the Civil War involved extensive patronage in selecting officials and supervising their work.  That system had evolved in the early nineteenth century, and relied on the well-known political adage, “to the victor belong the spoils.”  When a Democrat was elected President, all of the Republican appointees were swept out of office, and vice versa.  The idea of rotation in office caused by election of a candidate from the other party was thought to be “democratic.” Continue reading “That Good Ol’ Patronage System!”

No Christmas Eve Off for Federal Employees

No Christmas Eve Off for Federal Employees

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Federal employees will report for a full day of work Tuesday, with the Obama administration opting not to give any extra time off for Christmas Eve.

The decision does not come as a surprise. It is “consistent with historical precedent when Christmas has fallen on a Wednesday,” an official at the Office of Personnel Management told Government Executive. “The government has remained open on Christmas Eve for six of the last nine times since 1946 that Christmas Day has fallen on a Wednesday.”

One of the recent exceptions was 2002, when President George W. Bush gave feds a half day off on Tuesday, Dec. 24. Continue reading “No Christmas Eve Off for Federal Employees”

How Patty Murray won over Dems on budget fight

How Patty Murray won over Dems on budget fight

By: Manu Raju
December 13, 2013 05:03 AM EST

Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray talks with POLITICO about negotiating a budget plan on Dec. 11. | John Shinkle/POLITICO

President Barack Obama was on the phone repeatedly with Sen. Patty Murray during the high-stakes budget talks and asked how he could help.

Murray’s response: I got this.

The veteran Washington Democrat, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, had quietly and methodically built a close relationship with a man long vilified by the White House and congressional Democrats: Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican and Mitt Romney’s running mate. But after private negotiations with each other, starting in the Senate dining room exactly a year ago and culminating after Murray’s tense talks with furious House Democrats, the two were able to do what seemed impossible in a gridlocked Congress: Reach a bipartisan budget accord.

(Also on POLITICO: GOP and conservative groups: The breakup begins) Continue reading “How Patty Murray won over Dems on budget fight”