President Obama complained in a Saturday radio and Internet address that crucial issues are resolved in Washington only at the last possible moment. It was late December when he spoke, three days before the deadline on the fiscal cliff. A deal to avert automatic tax increases had yet to be reached.Read more
For fiscal hawks of all political stripes, the last two years have been awfully frustrating. Budget politics has been front and center almost constantly, yet we have made almost no progress toward reducing our deficits and debt.Read more
It has been widely reported that the recently passed “fiscal cliff” deal entails a tax hike with no corresponding spending cuts. Other reports claim that the deal imposes a 41-to-1 ratio of tax hikes to spending cuts. But neither of these claims is correct.Read more
President Barack Obama's staff used an autopen (a machine that mimics one's signature) to sign the "fiscal cliff" legislation that Congress passed on New Year's Day. There was no ceremony or photo-op for the autopen bill signing.Read more
Among the many items bundled into the fiscal cliff fix there was another delay in implementing cuts to physician payments for Medicare services. It wasn't hard, though. Congress has had plenty of practice handling what is called the "doc fix," since it has been doing it almost routinely for the last decade.Read more
Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, explains why he voted in favor of the "fiscal cliff" deal last night in the House of Representatives:
“We’ll never get our debt under control unless we tackle its main drivers: too little economic growth and too much spending. Without presidential leadership, it will be difficult to forge bipartisan solutions to our debt and economic challenges.Read more
After Congress agreed temporarily to avert the "fiscal cliff" last night, President Barack Obama hailed the deal in brief remarks delivered from the White House, and then headed to Air Force One to take a midnight flight to Hawaii. Obama had left his family days earlier to return to Washington to deal with the "fiscal cliff."Read more
The fiscal cliff deal that the Senate passed early this morning is ridiculous in too many ways to count. There seem to be no figures from the Congressional Budget Office and only "very preliminary" figures from the Joint Tax Committee about the real spending and revenue implications. The two month delay of the sequester will make actual governance even more difficult (how is the Pentagon supposed to plan for the rest of the year?).Read more
A senior Republican Senate aide passes along the tax terms of the deal being worked out by Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill and the White House to avert the "fiscal cliff." These terms are "locked," says the source, between Senate Republicans and the White House:
President Barack Obama hit Congress for not getting together to offer him a bigger deal during a speech today at the White House.Read more
President Barack Obama tipped his hand today during a speech at the White House ... about how he plans to spend this New Year's Eve.Read more
President Barack Obama began his afternoon remarks at the White House by saying, "I
Harry Reid, on the Senate floor, said that he just spoke with President Barack Obama, but that they do not have a "counteroffer to make" to Republicans:
"We did have conversations last night that ended late in the evening between staffs, this morning we've been trying to come up with some counteroffer to my friends' proposals," said Reid, saying he's had a number" of conversations with the president. "I don't have a counteroffer to make."Read more
President Barack Obama issued an executive order to end the pay freeze on federal employees, in effect giving some federal workers a raise. One federal worker now to receive a pay increase is Vice President Joe Biden.
According to disclosure forms, Biden made a cool $225,521 last year. After the pay increase, he'll now make $231,900 per year.Read more
The Treasury Department is telling its staff not to worry about the "fiscal cliff," an internal memorandum sent to all employees reveals. The memo, which is signed by the deputy secretary of the treasury, Neal S. Wolin, states that "there is no reason why both sides should not be able to come together" to reach a deal.Read more
Spending will increase 55 percent over the next decade, if President Barack Obama's budget plan goes into effect. The finding comes from the Republican-side of the Senate Budget Committee, which notes that Obama's "Proposal Would Spend $880 Billion Over Already Projected Increases."Read more
As the tax debate continues, Republicans have a good opportunity to contrast their own support for small businesses with the Democrats' support for big business.Read more
As the nation heads ever closer to the so-called fiscal cliff—the January 1 deadline at which, absent congressional and presidential action, taxes will go up and (on January 2) spending will go down—Read more
Among President Obama’s rhetorical skills is an impressive mastery of lip service. He displayed it last week when he spoke to the Business Roundtable, the lobby for big business. And he did so without betraying even a hint that his words were bunk.Read more
A day after complaining that the "fiscal cliff" negotiations are "getting boring," Nancy Pelosi was spotted yesterday afternoon skipping town.
She was comfortably situated in first class on United Airlines flight 1460, which was scheduled to leave Dulles Airport at 2:53 p.m. and arrive in San Francisco 5:57 p.m. A list on United's website of those who were on the upgrade standby list reveals that PEL, N. (presumably, Nancy Pelosi) was upgraded to seat 4F, a window seat in first class.Read more
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