Category Archives: Budgets

Brinksmanship in Congress with only one day to a government shutdown

So the GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan, “the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin,” went ahead with his kabuki theater plan to pass his fifth temporary spending bill (CR) that everyone knows was DOA in the Senate. He no doubt wants credit for his farce. House passes stopgap spending measure with defense money:

House Republicans passed a spending package on Tuesday night that pairs a full year of defense funding with a temporary patch for the rest of the government, even as Senate leaders pursue a different plan to avoid a shutdown when funding runs dry on Thursday.

The continuing resolution (CR), which passed the House 245-182, would fund the Defense Department for the rest of fiscal 2018 and keep the rest of the government’s lights on until March 23. It also includes two years of funding for community health centers and extends several expiring health care programs.

But the defense-CR package is unlikely to fly in the Senate, meaning senators will need to rewrite the stopgap measure and “ping-pong” it back to the House.

Spending bills are supposed to originate in the House, but since that clown show is held hostage by the House GOP Freedom Caucus who are not serious about governing responsibly, the serious work of keeping the government functioning is being done in the Senate. Senate leaders see two-year budget deal within their grasp:

Top Senate leaders were working Tuesday to finalize a sweeping long-term budget deal that would include a defense spending boost President Trump has long demanded alongside an increase in domestic programs championed by Democrats.

As negotiations for the long-term deal continued, the House passed a short-term measure that would fund the government past a midnight Thursday deadline and avert a second partial shutdown in less than a month.

The House bill, which passed 245 to 182, would fund most agencies through March 23 but is a nonstarter in the Senate because of Democratic opposition.

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(Update) More government shutdown theatrics this week?

These people are just not serious about governing responsibly. For them, everything is about producing propaganda grist for the mighty Wurlitzer of the right-wing noise machine.

Back in 2011 when the Tea-Publicans were holding the government hostage over a manufactured federal debt ceiling “fiscal cliff crisis” — something the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution requires Congress to increase to prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debts — the sequestration spending caps idea was born to resolve this manufactured “crisis.”

Spending cuts would apply to mandatory and discretionary spending in the years 2013 to 2021 and be in an amount equal to the difference between $1.2 trillion and the amount of deficit reduction enacted from the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. These spending caps would equally affect security and non-security programs. The automatic sequester provisions would go into effect in 2013 if Congress failed to produce a deficit reduction bill with at least $1.2 trillion in cuts.

At the time, everyone said Congress would never agree to the automatic sequestration caps, and yet, it became law, the Budget Control Act of 2011. Congress, of course, failed to do its job and we have been living under the automatic sequestration spending caps since 2013.

There have been repeated attempts to remove the sequestration spending caps on defense spending (while leaving the sequestration spending caps in place on domestic spending). Congress has agreed to several waivers of the spending caps over the years.

This long-running Kabuki theater is now central to the budget dispute in Congress to avoid a government shutdown at midnight on February 8.

The GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan, the “zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin,” is siding with defense hawks and the radicals of the House GOP Freedom Caucus to bust the sequestration spending caps on defense spending while leaving the sequestration spending caps in place on domestic spending — a move Democrats oppose.

The point of this evil GOP bastard plan is to either roll weak-kneed Senate Democrats or to force them to vote against the House GOP spending plan and to shut down the government, so Tea-Publicans can beat their breasts and claim Democrats do not support our military and national defense. Or as President Trump trotted out yesterday, to assert they are “un-American” and to accuse them of “treason.”
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More government shutdown theatrics this week?

After a weekend government shutdown a few weeks ago, Congress once again kicked the can down the road with a continuing resolution (CR) spending bill to keep the government open until February 8.

So have they made any progrrss since then? What do you think.

The Hill reports, This week: Congress races to prevent another shutdown:

Time is running short for Congress to avoid another shutdown once funding runs out after Thursday.

The vote comes roughly three weeks after the government closed for three days amid a fight over the fate of an Obama-era immigration program.

But GOP leadership appears confident Democrats won’t risk another shutdown, after they folded last month on their demand to link immigration policy to a must-pass bill.

* * *

House Democrats are scheduled to depart for Cambridge, Md., for their retreat on Wednesday, which may help ease the skids for passing another temporary stopgap measure to keep the government open in time.

A vote in the House is expected on Tuesday, per a Republican aide.

Two sources familiar with the situation told The Hill that the continuing resolution (CR) would fund the government through March 23, though the decision hasn’t been finalized.

Asked about a six-week CR, an aide for the Senate Appropriations Committee said they are “on board, with a primary interest in accepting any date that makes the most sense in context of getting a deal and final resolution of the [fiscal year] 2018 appropriations.”

Lawmakers are hoping a longer CR will allow them to clinch a budget deal, which has been hamstrung by the immigration fight and demands of equal increases in defense and nondefense spending, as well as write a longer “omnibus” bill that could take weeks.

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David v. the Goliath of the dark money ‘Kochtopus’ and lawless Tea-Publicans on Proposition 305

First, the good news … because you really could use some good news these days.

The “Kochtopus” network trying to prevent the citizens referendum of the “vouchers on steroids” bill to privatize public education from appearing on the 2018 ballot lost in court on the first round. The trial judge dismissed the case saying “there is no legal basis for the challenge.” Dismissals for failure to state a claim are awful hard to overturn on appeal.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Voucher measure can go to ballot, judge rules:

A judge has refused to block voters from getting the last word on whether they want to expand a system of vouchers that uses public funds to send children to private and parochial schools.

In a six-page ruling made public Tuesday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Margaret Mahoney ruled that the law in effect last year when the referendum was filed did not give individuals the right to challenge petition drives. She pointed out it was repealed in 2015.

Mahoney acknowledged that lawmakers did vote to reinstate the individual challenge law last year. And that change took effect on Aug. 9, 2017.

But the judge pointed out that the petitions demanding a public vote were turned in on Aug. 8. Quite simply, Mahoney said, there is no legal basis for the challenge.

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Trump takes credit for the Obama economic recovery, but will not take the blame for the next market correction and recession when it comes

Over the weekend, Clad in pink and vowing to vote, activists around the globe flooded streets for another women’s march.

The serial sexual predator and misogynist Twitter-troll-in-chief couldn’t resist trolling the women marchers.

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Donald Trump, once again, is taking credit for the economic recovery that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, handed off to him.  Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers explains at the Washington Post, Trump doesn’t deserve credit for all the economic good news:

President Trump will be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. Inevitably, attention will focus on whether the president projects a commitment to internationalist values or reiterates his truculent nationalism in the name of making America “great again.” Attention will also focus on the durability of the current economic and market upswing that has buoyed the spirits of businesses and investors around the world.

While Trump will probably try to take credit for all the economic good news, it is unlikely that he deserves it. He is president of the United States, not the world. And the economic surprises in the rest of the world have been more favorable than those in America. The scale of upward revisions of growth forecasts for 2017 and 2018 has been higher in Europe, Japan, China and emerging markets broadly than for the United States. Many other stock markets have outperformed those here. If Trump’s pro-business policies were driving the global economy, one would expect an increase in net capital flows into the United States, and so a stronger dollar. In fact, the dollar has weakened significantly in the past year, despite more Federal Reserve tightening than was anticipated at the beginning of 2017.

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Bipartisan Senate rejection of House GOP spending bill leads to ‘shit-show’ shutdown

We have a dysfunctional government because Tea-Publicans are in charge. They do not believe in government, only the control of absolute power, and they possess no demonstrable skills at governing responsibly or effectively.

Late last night, a bipartisan vote of the Senate rejected the House GOP short-term spending bill (CR) on a vote of 50-49, well short of the 60 votes necessary to proceed under the Senate’s cloture rules. Of course, the House GOP leadership knew its CR bill, negotiated only among the competing factions of the GOP to the exclusion of any Democrats, was DOA on arrival in the Senate where Democratic votes would be necessary to pass it, even before the House held a vote on its CR bill. It was political gamesmanship and brinksmanship designed to provide propaganda talking points to the conservative media entertainment complex in an election year. Senate rejects funding bill, partial shutdown begins:

Senators voted late Friday to reject a House-passed bill that would have funded the government until Feb. 16, beginning a partial government shutdown.

Most Democrats voted to block the bill as part of a risky strategy to force Republicans to negotiate with them on a legislative fix for “Dreamers,” immigrants who illegally came to the country at a young age and now face the prospect of deportation. The procedural motion on the bill failed 50-49.

Only five Democrats voted to advance the bill — Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.), who are all up for reelection this year in states carried by President Trump in 2016 election, and newly elected Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.).

Republicans were also not united, as Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) also voted against advancing the legislation. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is battling brain cancer, was absent.

The procedural vote remained open for roughly two hours on Friday night, remaining well below the needed 60 votes to pass.

What should have happened next is that the Senate GOP leadership walk over to the House side and bitch slap House Speaker Paul Ryan and his lieutenants for sending them a bill that they knew was DOA on arrival in the Senate. “Stop wasting our time!”

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