3:01 PM, Dec 11, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Tough times in the lobbying industry and the news is sure to be greeted with an outpouring of sympathy from across the land. As Kevin Bogardus and Megan R. Wilson of the Hill report:
Lobbyists say 2014 can’t be worse than 2013, when their revenue plunged as lawmakers battled through a government shutdown and punted on K Street cash cows like immigration and tax reform.
(Immigration a “cash cow.” Who knew?)
Just how bad are things. Well ...
In 2012, K Street reported taking in $3.31 billion in lobbying fees, down from the $3.33 billion firms earned in 2011, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Fourth-quarter reports for 2013 won’t come in until next month, but firms have only pulled down $2.38 billion so far, and are not on pace to match last year’s lobbying revenue.
As one partner at Patton Boggs explained:
“[Lobbying revenue] was down for obvious reasons. There was virtually nothing to lobby because Congress passed few bills and there was the continuing hangover from the economy,”
So lobbying is made less lucrative by gridlock in Congress. Another point for gridlock.
4:25 PM, Dec 4, 2013 • By ROGER I. ZAKHEIM and THOMAS DONNELLY
House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon doesn’t look like an insurgent. The quintessential Californian – a man of Reaganesque optimism whose congressional district now includes the Gipper’s presidential library – McKeon has been a steadfast supporter of House speaker John Boehner in turbulent times. Yet, to the green-eyeshade editorialists of the Wall Street Journal, McKeon is leading a “rebellion” of defense hawks, an “act of masochism” threatening the Holy of Holies: the sequestration provision of the Budget Control Act (BCA). McKeon’s crime is that he’s hoping for a 2014 budget deal that would reduce the amount of defense sequestration by half.
9:39 AM, Oct 23, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
New research from the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee shows that over the last 5 years, the U.S. has spent about $3.7 trillion on welfare. Here's a chart, showing that spending versus transportation, education, and NASA spending:
11:35 AM, Oct 1, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Our upcoming WEEKLY STANDARD cruise had me thinking (only a bit!) about blackjack, since the ship's casino is occasionally (rarely!) frequented after dinner by TWS editors and guests.
4:07 PM, Sep 26, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The government will be tapped out on Oct 17, according to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. Unless, that is, Congress takes:
8:14 AM, Sep 20, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
In 2009, the Obama administration made news with an $18 million, five year contract to redesign Recovery.gov, the website the government set up to allow taxpayers to track the stimulus spending enacted by the president and Congress soon after President Obama took office.
12:11 PM, Sep 16, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
If the public is to understand the full awfulness of the sequester, it seems that it must first suffer. So, as Eric Katz reports at Government Executive, the FBI will be furloughing agents and cutting costs in a way that, according to its departing director will:
12:00 AM, Aug 24, 2013 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
All is quiet on the Washington front. But don’t let the lull in partisan warfare fool you. In two weeks Congress returns from its summer recess, after hearing from constituents who hold the institution in lower esteem than used car salesmen, and view eating Brussels sprouts, enduring traffic jams, and having colonoscopies less daunting prospects than continuing to watch this Congress in action. Nevertheless, few members of this despised institution are likely to lose their seats in November. Turn the rascals out, but not my rascal, seems to be the prevailing view.
Food stamp trafficking a record $858M in 20117:58 AM, Aug 16, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a report on Thursday regarding illegal trafficking in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps. The report showed that the rate of trafficking rose from 1 percent of total benefits in the last study period of 2006-2008 to 1.3 percent in the current study period of 2009-2011, an increase of 30 percent. The report noted the trafficking rate remains well below a rate of almost 4 percent that existed for much of the 1990s. The rate plunged to 1 percent by the 2002-2005 study period and remained there until the current report:
10:48 AM, Aug 14, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
It is becoming increasingly clear that President Obama does not approve of the American Founders’ notion that Congress’s role is to pass laws, and the president’s role is to execute them.
8:48 AM, Aug 14, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The effects of the sequester would be dire. Or so we were told. The massive furloughing of bureaucrats across all agencies and departments would result in cutbacks, or even elimination, of essential services. The bonds on civilization would be strained.