Last week, the government confirmed that Kayla Mueller had died while in the custody of ISIS. In the weeks prior, we learned about the brutal murders of three innocent people -- the beheading of two Japanese citizens and the immolation of a Jordanian pilot.Read more
As sequestration bore down in February 2013, the threat of furloughs for thousands of government workers was a common refrain from those warning of the dire effects of the across the board budget cuts.Read more
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.Read more
In the continuing debate over Obamacare, both the law’s champions and its critics are now focused largely on the mechanics of implementation. This is understandable. The insurance exchanges are supposed to launch October 1, most of the law’s other major provisions take effect January 1, and every week seems to bring fresh news of some delay or dysfunction for critics to highlight and defenders to justify or dismiss.Read more
Sequestration has been blamed for everything from cancelled White House tours to military cutbacks that threaten national security to government worker furloughs.Read more
"When word of a crisis breaks out in Washington, it's no accident that
the first question that comes to everyone's lips is: 'Where's the nearest carrier?'"
(President Bill Clinton, March 12, 1993, aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt)
Twenty years later, it appears that the answer to that question will soon be, "The carriers are in mothballs." Rusting away. We can't afford them any longer."Read more
While furloughs of civilian employees of the Defense Department have not lived up to the pre-sequester billing, the Pentagon is doing what it can to ease the pain for those who will be taking involuntary time off. The American Forces Press Service is reporting that the director of the Pentagon's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (WMR) program is urging furloughed civilians to tap into "fitness, recreational and educational services, often at no charge or for significantly less than one might pay just outside an installation’s gates." The list of "free or low-cost" offerings is extensive:Read more
In 2012, the Department of Defense spent a total of $651 billion, including the costs of fighting in Afghanistan. According to the budget plan submitted by the White House a few months ago, projected 2014 spending will be $547 billion. If, as seems nearly inevitable, the “sequestration” provision of the Budget Control Act is triggered, that figure will fall below $500 billion, a loss of more than 20 percent in just two years.Read more
[G]ood news for our employees, good news for our visitors as we start the summer season this Memorial Day Weekend, and good news for the security of our nation’s icons -- the places that the dedicated men and women of the U.S. Park Police protect every day.”Read more
The show will go on. Sequestration may have cost Washington D.C. tourists a chance to tour the White House, but the Independence Day fireworks will go off as planned. A contract was awarded yesterday to Garden State Fireworks of Millington, NJ for $221,819.77. The listing for bids on the typically business-like fbo.gov website contained this somewhat colorful solicitation:Read more
Furloughed federal employees who like to play golf are in luck. There's a deal waiting for them, courtesy of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
"Thousands of area federal employees will be furloughed on certain days between April and September this year as a result of the Federal Sequester. In response, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) is offering a special deal for those furloughed federal employees who enjoy the outdoors and a good round of golf," the group writes in a press release, announcing its sequester deal.Read more
After several minutes of badgering from Sen. John McCain at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on April 9, Admiral Samuel Locklear admitted that the combination of regularly scheduled defense budget cuts and the “sequestration” provision of the current budget law meant that “in the near term . . . we’re not going to be able to provide the force levels” needed in the Pacific, where Locklear is the top U.S. commander. “The answer to your question,” he admitted to McCain, “is that I can’t do it.”Read more
Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz made a special request of the United States Capitol Police for her staff members to be treated well during sequester:Read more
As the sequester bore down on Washington, the dire warnings from the Obama administration gave the impression that wild horses couldn't drag another dime out of the treasury for a whole host of vital government services. Aircraft carrier refueling, the Head Start program, and White House tours were among the high profile victims.Read more
When they agreed to President Obama’s 2011 budget proposal that is responsible for the current sequester, Republicans expected that the nation’s concern and respect for the military would help to prevent the cuts in defense spending that would occur if agreement to reduce the deficit were not reached. They were wrong. And it couldn’t have come at a worse time.Read more
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