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Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling agreement’

Short-Term Relief from Boehner Resignation Unlikely to Translate into Long-Term Budget Deal

  • September 29, 2015
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House Speaker John Boehner’s surprise announcement that he would retire next month appears to have averted the possibility of a government shutdown this week, but it may have ended the chances for a bipartisan deal to relax the statutory spending caps and advance a fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill. The end result could be a full-year continuing resolution. With hard-line conservatives in the House emboldened by Boehner’s departure, the new speaker almost certainly will find it more difficult to negotiate a bipartisan budget agreement that loosens the caps, reports CQ. A new House leader could be forced to make concessions to conservatives, limiting his ability to negotiate higher spending levels with Democrats …

Senate Republicans Open to Budget Deal to Lift Spending Caps

  • September 25, 2015
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With much of Capitol Hill focused on averting a government shutdown next Thursday, Senate Republicans say it is likely Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will be willing to negotiate increases in the Budget Control Act caps on defense and non-defense spending as part of a year-end deal that also incorporates the temporary and permanent extension of tax breaks and, possibly, extends the nation’s debt ceiling. “You never know. Miracles sometimes happen at the end of the year,” Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said this week. Any talks on relaxing the spending caps or other year-end business will wait, however, until lawmakers complete work on a continuing resolution to fund the government starting Oct. 1 …

White House Reiterates Demand to Bust Spending Caps

  • September 9, 2015
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White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday reiterated President Obama’s pledge to veto any fiscal 2016 spending bill that merely sticks to the caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act. “He will not sign into law a budget bill that would lock in sequester levels of spending,” he said. With defense spending bills in both chambers already sidestepping the caps by stashing tens of billions of extra dollars in the Pentagon’s war account, the White House ultimatum essentially is warning Republicans that Obama won’t sign any spending bill unless it offers budget relief for non-defense agencies. Lawmakers need to strike a bipartisan deal, Earnest said, reported CQ. Earnest indicated, though, that the White House likely would agree to a continuing resolution that sticks to existing spending levels in order to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month.

Avoiding a Shutdown Will Be Highest Priority following Recess, McConnell Says

  • September 2, 2015
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Lawmakers’ primary challenge when they return to Capitol Hill next week will be clearing a measure to keep the federal government open when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told WYMT in Hazard, Ky., on Monday. McConnell blamed Senate Democrats for blocking action on fiscal 2016 spending bills because they offered budget relief to the Pentagon but not to domestic agencies, reported the Hill. “They prevented us from doing any of the bills that appropriate money for the government, thereby forcing a negotiation when we go back in after Labor Day, which I’ll be engaged in with the administration and others to try to sort out how much we’re going to spend and where we’re going to spend it,” McConnell told the television station …

GOP Source Outlines Possible Opening Offer in Budget Talks

  • September 1, 2015
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When Republican leaders decide to launch negotiations over the fiscal 2016 budget caps with the White House, their opening offer may be to lift the limits on defense spending by $38 billion, while raising the cap on domestic agencies by some lesser amount. Such a plan would offset the extra defense spending by extending the Budget Control Act caps for an additional two years in the 2020s, a source with ties to senior GOP lawmakers told CQ. Any extra domestic spending agreed to would be paid for by increasing the nation’s debt. Republicans would consider only a two-year deal to raise the statutory caps that would go through FY 2017, according to the source …

Senate Democrats Urge McConnell to Begin Budget Talks

  • August 21, 2015
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With only limited time available after lawmakers return to Washington next month, Senate Democrats this week urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to start negotiations over the fiscal 2016 spending caps immediately. “With the existence of a clear and urgent deadline for action, we believe it would be unwise to wait until after the Congress returns from the August state work period — just 23 days before the end of the federal fiscal year — to begin talks on a path forward,” all 46 members of the Democratic Conference, which includes two independents, wrote McConnell on Tuesday. “We cannot afford to wait, only to let delay and inaction bring us to the brink of another totally predictable and completely preventable crisis …

Odierno Remains Anxious over Army’s Declining End Strength

  • August 14, 2015
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Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno on Wednesday warned that the service risks sacrificing its long-term viability if stringent spending caps remain in place. “I believe this nation is at an important inflection point, specifically regarding national security,” Odierno said during his last Pentagon press briefing as he prepares to retire from the Army after almost 40 years of service. “Our security environment remains uncertain and dynamic,” he said, “with increasing requirements on our military while we continue to have decreasing resources in our military. This is of great concern to me …

Prospect of Federal Shutdown Reaches 40 Percent, Expert Says

  • July 29, 2015
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With Republicans leaders resisting President Obama’s latest call for budget talks to resolve the impasse over fiscal 2016 spending, federal budget expert Stan Collender says the chances of a government shutdown have now risen to 40 percent. Of course, the most likely outcome still is a continuing resolution that remains in force until a budget deal can be reached, Collender, an executive vice president at Qorvis/MSLGROUP and a former staffer on the House and Senate Budget committees, said in a blog post. Last month, House Speaker John Boehner had said he was willing to sit down with the White House to negotiate a budget deal, but so far the president had never asked him do so. But after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy last week said he didn’t see “a place currently where they c(ould) come to a conclusion …

Force Reductions to Leave Army at ‘Razor’s Edge,’ Odierno Says

  • July 26, 2015
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The Army’s plan to shrink its active-duty end strength to 450,000 soldiers over the next three years will force the nation to assume a greater level of risk as the number of hotspots across the globe rises, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Thursday. “With the increased instability around the world, 490,000 is the right number, but we can’t do it,” Odierno said during a visit to Fort Carson. “We don’t have the budget to do it.” The decision to eliminate 40,000 troops was prompted by the discretionary spending caps imposed under the 2011 Budget Control Act. Odierno, who is retiring in August, is hoping lawmakers strike a multi-year deal to raise the spending caps …

Member-Led Efforts to Solve Sequestration Yield Little in Results

  • July 21, 2015
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Lawmakers regularly tout their participation in behind-the-scenes talks to produce a bipartisan plan to lift the statutory spending caps on defense and domestic spending, but the reality is very little progress has been made, reports CQ. A group led by Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.), for example, has been meeting since earlier this year to resolve what McCain said was his number one priority when he took the panel’s gavel in January. Beyond talking, it’s not clear if the group has made any headway. “It would be a good idea,” McCain said of completing a plan. “But first you’ve got to agree on what to put out there. That’s why these endless discussions go on …

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