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Posts tagged ‘sequestration’

Congress paddles toward a shutdown


waving flagBy Alexander Bolton – 06/16/15

Congress is slowly paddling toward a government shutdown. The fight over government spending that has dominated much of the decade, calmed for two years because of a bipartisan deal, is roaring back to life. Democrats are adamant that Republicans back off their plans to increase defense spending without doing the same for nondefense programs. They argue the GOP is using a budget gimmick to funnel more money to the Pentagon without raising spending limits on healthcare and social welfare programs.

To try to force the party’s hand, Senate Democrats say they will block every annual spending bill unless Republicans agree to a budget summit. Republicans, for their part, say they have no intention of caving to Democratic demands. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) say they won’t convene a budget summit and warn Democrats could earn the wrath of voters by blocking bills to fund the military.

Unless someone blinks, none of the 12 annual spending bills will be approved by this summer — leaving Congress on the brink of a shutdown in late September.

The finger-pointing has already started.Offical Seal

“Democrats once thought it was insanely radical for Republicans to oppose too much spending, but now think it’s perfectly reasonable to shut down the government when the spending bills don’t spend enough,” Boehner stated in a Monday memo to reporters. “We’re headed for another shutdown,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) said of Republicans last week. “They did it once, they’re going to do it again.”

Democrats appear eager to return to shutdown politics, which have benefited their party in the past. When the government shut down for 16 days in 2013, Republicans largely got the blame. “If our Republican colleagues want to keep quietly paddling toward a government shutdown, that’s their choice,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said earlier this month.

Don Stewart, McConnell’s spokesman, said Democrats will get the blame for a shutdown because they’re taking the funding bills hostage. “It’s hard for someone who’s vowed to filibuster and block spending bills to blame someone else for shutting down the government,” he said.  Still, Republicans are wary of the issue, given its history on Capitol Hill.Party of Deciet and lies

One likely way out is passing a continuing resolution (CR) at the end of September that would keep current funding levels in place. Some Democrats believe McConnell is angling for such a solution. The GOP leader has spent much of the year making the case that Republicans can govern ahead of a 2016 election in which his members face a difficult political map. Twenty-four Republican senators will be up for reelection, many of them in states won by President Obama in the last two presidential elections. “I think he sees that as the endgame. Everything else is just going through the motions,” said a Democratic leadership aide. “McConnell has already resigned himself to a CR.”

This would keep the GOP’s reputation for governing intact and spare the Senate leader from having to side with defense hawks who want to boost spending over fiscal conservatives in his conference who don’t want to lift the budget caps. A stopgap measure would extend current funding levels set by the accord reached at the end of 2013 by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), at the time the respective heads of the Senate and House Budget panels. Their deal halted the automatic spending cut known as sequestration. But extending it for another year would not offer any relief because the spending cap set by the 2011 Budget Control Act for fiscal 2016 is slightly higher than the top-line number set by Murray and Ryan for fiscal 2015.

McConnell, as usual, is playing his cards close to the vest, offering little hint of his next step after forcing Democrats to vote on the popular defense appropriations bill later this month. He and Boehner could agree to high-level budget talks later in the year, but only after forcing Senate Democrats to vote against a series of appropriations bills, giving ammunition to the argument that Democrats are obstructionists.

Democrats argue it will take at least two months to hash out a deal on a top-line spending number, which means a stopgap is the intended outcome. “If you wait until the end, you’re going to get a [continuing resolution,]” New York Sen. Charles Schumer, the third-ranking Senate Democrat, said at a press conference last week. “That’s what they want,” added Reid, who was standing next to his deputy.

GOP aides and strategists say McConnell will do everything in his power to avoid a shutdown — though he is unlikely to make his move until after the August recess. “If it has to go up until the brink of a shutdown, we’re likely to see a CR situation happening. I find it very unlikely that the Senate Republicans would allow a shutdown to occur on their watch,” said Ron Bonjean, a GOP strategist and former Senate leadership aide.

The chore for McConnell and Boehner could be further complicated once the government needs to raise its debt limit. That’s likely to happen this fall. “I made it very clear after the November election that we certainly are not going to shut down the government or default on the national debt,” McConnell said earlier this year in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We’ll figure some way to handle that, and hopefully it might carry some other important legislation that we can agree on in connection with it,” he said.

Another agreement to lift the spending caps when Republicans control both chambers of Congress would not go down well with Tea Party conservatives. The first Ryan-Murray deal was somewhat more palatable because Democrats controlled the Senate at the time. One conservative GOP aide said McConnell has weakened his own negotiation position by promising in advance not to let a government shutdown happen. The aide argued that Democrats can feel confident of winning concessions on spending increases by creating an impasse that threatens a shutdown.freedom combo 2

Really? More Emotional Blackmail?


Let me get this straight;

  • Jack Lew, part of the Obama White House, came up with the idea of sequestration and President Obama thought it was a great idea, and supported it so much, that he got it passed;
  • President Obama is quoted as saying that with this law, he could force the Republicans to vote for legislation he know the Republicans would not like because they would not want the cuts to defense to happen;
  • He made sure that the cuts would be determined by the President, not the Congress (meaning that all the emotional blackmail is based on his own thinking, not any real plan or proposal);
  • Now he is claiming that IT IS THE REPUBLICANS THAT WANT FIRST RESPONDERS NOT TO GET PAID, MILITARY PERSONNEL NOT GET PAID, POOR CHILDREN NOT FED, AND EVERY BUNNY RABBIT SLAUGHTERED AT SUN DOWN (oops, that last one just slipped out, although it is consistent will all his ridiculous claims).
  • And so on, and so on, and so on.

Can anyone explain to me the psychology of a person who inspired the idea, backed the idea, promoted the idea, got the idea accepted and put into the law, and now blames those that oppose him as the culprits behind it all? Please help me understand.

Sequestration


 

Obama Administration Will Pay Companies to Violate the Law


Morning Bell: Obama Administration Will Pay Companies to Violate the Law

Hans von Spakovsky and Amy Payne

October 26, 2012 at 8:08 am

The Obama Administration’s disregard for the law has struck again—and this time, it’s encouraging others to violate the law at taxpayer expense.

That’s worth saying again: The Obama Administration is encouraging people to violate a law, and promising that it will use taxpayer money to cover fines incurred from this action.

The law: The law in question is called the WARN Act, and it requires that federal contractors send employees layoff notices 60 days before a plant closing or mass layoff.

The inconvenience: Massive defense spending cuts under sequestration are scheduled to hit on January 2, 2013. Defense contractors affected by the budget cuts would have to issue notice letters to employees by November 2 (four days before the election) to meet the January 2 start date for the spending cuts.

The penalty taxpayers would pay: Employers who violate the WARN Act are liable to their former employees for “back pay for each day of a violation” and “benefits under an employee benefit plan,” as well as a penalty of $500 for each day that notice has not been sent to the local government where the layoffs will occur.

As an example, Lockheed CEO Bob Stevens has said that 123,000 of his employees would receive layoff notices. If companies fail to meet the WARN Act’s deadline, lawsuits from employees could result—but the White House has provided a taxpayer-funded guarantee as a way to counter their fears of enormous litigation costs. This guarantee is not only unprecedented but also potentially unlawful.

This week, President Obama sent mixed signals about the fate of these budget cuts. He suggested at Monday’s debate that sequestration wouldn’t happen, but then days later indicated to an Iowa newspaper that it would.

It remains to be seen whether companies will take the Administration up on its offer. And government contractors who rely on this “guarantee” from the White House do so at their peril: If this Administration or a new Administration changes its mind and withdraws the guarantee, those contractors will have no cause of action against the government for the cost of WARN Act violations.

If this were a joke, the punchline would be that President Obama supported the WARN Act when he was a Senator—and even wanted to require that employers give more notice. In 2007, he argued that contractors should have to give 90 days’ notice.

Then-Senator Obama said:

American workers who have committed themselves to their employers expect in return to be treated with a modicum of respect and fairness. Failing to give workers fair warning…ignores their need to prepare for the transition.…Many of these workers support families that are living from paycheck to paycheck, squeezed by the demands of rising health care costs, the declining value of their homes, and wages that have been stagnant for decades. It adds insult to injury to close a plant without warning employees.

But this is no joke. This is the ultimate abuse of the President’s executive authority: inducing federal contractors to violate a federal law and promising to use taxpayer funds to reimburse them for any resulting liability that they incur for violating that law.

Refusing to follow federal law has become the hallmark of this Administration, but the White House’s latest arrogant, unlawful ploy goes even further and may end up costing the American taxpayer a great deal of money.

Read the full report: Urging Federal Contractors to Violate the WARN Act

Watch our video on the effects of sequestration

Quick Hits:

  • Oshkosh Corp., a truck manufacturer with Pentagon contracts, just announced it will lay off 450 workers in January. The company “blamed the ‘difficult decisions’ on looming cuts to the nation’s defense budget,” reports The Examiner.
  • Pressure is growing on the Obama Administration to reveal details about why non-union autoworkers’ pensions were drastically cut after the auto bailout—when union workers were treated very differently.
  • The Energy Department paid $7.7 million in severance packages to temporary workers hired with stimulus money, reports the Washington Guardian.
  • Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner is featured on a new segment of Glenn Beck’s “American Voices.” Watch him explain why he is conservative.
  • The Heritage Foundation has released trade freedom scores for the forthcoming 2013 Index of Economic Freedom. See where the U.S. stands.

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