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December 16, 2011

Three major cuts in the shutdown-avoiding omnibus spending bill

  • one In the biggest change, the popular Pell Grant program for low-income students could run dry for as many as 100,000 students, as eligibility standards tighten.
  • two Foreign aid will decline, with a 17 percent drop in the operating budget coming to USAID. It’s part of a larger $6 billion cut coming to the State Department.
  • three The GOP won a health care victory, blocking the IRS’ ability to implement the Affordable Care Act’s provisions in 2012. The individual mandate hits in 2014. source

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14:23 // 2 years ago
December 13, 2011
If Sen. Reid wants to hold up the jobs bill, he will go on Santa’s naughty list.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) • Offering a somewhat … uh, interesting take on the House’s passage of a payroll tax cut, which Republicans pushed through with a fairly large caveat — it would speed up the process of approving the Keystone XL pipeline, which was delayed until 2013 to give some time to examine environmental issues brought up by critics. The bill is expected to die in the Senate, and even if it weren’t, Obama would most likely veto it. The divided Congress is under the gun to pass a payroll tax cut and a spending bill to fund the government beyond Friday. Sounds like a fun week, all. source (viafollow)
20:39 // 2 years ago
December 21, 2010

Yo Obama: Congress just gave you another triangulation opportunity

Remember how in 1995 when the government shut down? Well, guess what we just set ourselves up for in March? See, as a stopgap to avoid a massive omnibus spending bill from getting through the pipe with a crapload of earmarks, Congress agreed to set up a temporary spending bill that gets us into late Winter. (Obama should sign it before he heads off to Hawaii to be with the fam.) Which means that if Obama and the GOP are at one another’s throats come the Ides of March, the government could shut down 1995-style. Or Obama could switch parties and weird everybody out. Et tu, Brute? source

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21:04 // 3 years ago
December 16, 2010

Harry Reid kills omnibus spending bill over earmarks non-issue

  • what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s killing the Senate’s huge, trillion-dollar omnibus spending bill, which would keep the government running through September, in favor of a smaller one.
  • why Complaints about $8.3 billion in earmarks – which we pointed out last night are not a big deal – may make it hard for the bill to pass. It needs to pass by Friday to avoid a government shutdown. source

» Our point still stands: The problem with the bill was not the earmarks. The problem was that it was a trillion dollars, but a few senators have made earmarks the issue, which sucks, because the earmarks are a tiny part of the plan and if they would’ve gone to some random bureaucracy had they not been earmarked for the states.

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20:33 // 3 years ago

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As we’re sure you’ve seen, we’ve been having a bit of a back and forth with chrisjgavin about earmarks and the Senate’s omnibus spending bill. We probably don’t agree with Chris on a lot politically, but on this issue, we’ve come to something of an understanding. Now’s probably a good time to point out the hard work of the Sunlight Foundation, which tries to make the hard-to-comprehend nature of Congress (data is often released in an absurdly cumbersome format that’s basically useless to outsiders) something relatively easy to understand using technology. Above is something specifically about defense earmarks added into the Omnibus spending bill, presented in such a way that you can actually figure out what it’s saying. The Sunlight Foundation does some great light-shedding work and they need to be supported with donations.

1:01 // 3 years ago
December 15, 2010
23:34 // 3 years ago

Tom Coburn making big deal out of relatively small earmark issue

  • $2.2
    the amount Senator Tom Coburn – the guy who held up the food safety bill – says Senate leaders are putting aside in earmarks; Politico dug these numbers out of his database
  • $1.1 
    the size of the total omnibus spending bill the Democrats are trying to push through; just pointing out for comparison’s sake, because it’s good to note source

» OK, Tom, you’ve made your point: Democratic and Republican leaders alike in the Senate are taking a lot of federal money and giving it to the states. But you’re trying to deceive us. Here’s why; see, a trillion dollars is a thousand billion by our last count. And Tom, who’s anti-earmark, is pointing out how wrong it is for Senate leaders to throw roughly two-thousandths of the entire spending bill back to the states, $2.2 billion which would get spent by the federal government otherwise. (The total amount, $8.3 billion, is still absurdly tiny in comparison to the entire spending bill.) To put it another way, Tommy Boy’s trying to make hay out of an issue that’s actually needle-sized. You know what the real problem is? The hay. Not the needle. (And in case you’re wondering, these earmarks were made earlier this year, before the current anti-earmark vibe hit.)

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21:43 // 3 years ago