‘Crisis Budgeting’ Likely Ahead Despite White House Claim

The following article by John T. Bennett was posted on the Roll Call website February 13, 2018:

‘All sorts of riders’ could bring new shutdown threats, experts say

White House officials contend the two-year budget deal that became law last week will end Washington’s spending crises and government shutdown threats. But President Donald Trump’s new budget request suggests otherwise.

Trump himself was lukewarm about the spending package he signed last week, which raised defense and domestic spending caps for the remaining seven-and-a-half months of this fiscal year and the next. And the president had little to say about the fiscal 2019 budget blueprint his administration sent to Capitol Hill on Monday. But his top aides painted each one as game-changing documents. Read More

Rand Paul embarrasses himself by calling wife beating “complicated”

The following article by Alison R. Parker was posted on the ShareBlue website February 11, 2018:

Contrary to Sen. Rand Paul’s flustered claim, there is nothing “complicated” about whether or not punching your spouse in the face is wrong.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul Credit: CBS

The cognitive dissonance on display from the Trump administration regarding the domestic abuse scandals surrounding two now-former White House aides was bizarrely crystallized in one statement by Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul.

Trump has gone out of his way to defend Rob Porter — despite photographic evidence of the violent abuse Porter inflicted on one of his ex-wives and testimony from another, as well as an ex-girlfriend — as well as former speechwriter David Sorensen. Read More

In big reversal, new Trump budget will give up on longtime Republican goal of eliminating deficit

The following article by Damian Paletta was posted on the Washington Post website February 11, 2018:

The spending deal reached between Senate Democrats and Republicans would garner trillion-dollar-plus annual deficits, bringing fears of larger economic effects. (Reuters)

President Trump on Monday will offer a budget plan that falls far short of eliminating the government’s deficit over 10 years, conceding that huge tax cuts and new spending increases make this goal unattainable, three people familiar with the proposal said.

Eliminating the budget deficit over 10 years has been a North Star for the Republican Party for several decades, and GOP lawmakers took the government to the brink of default in 2011 when they demanded a vote on a amendment to the Constitution that would prohibit the federal government from spending more than it takes in. Read More

Budget Deficits Are Projected to Balloon Under the Bipartisan Spending Deal

The following article by Alicia Parlapiano was posted on the New York Times website February 9, 2018:

The two-year budget agreement passed by Congress early Friday is projected to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars to federal deficits.

The deal increases spending for bipartisan priorities.

>Republicans have pushed for a boost in military spending, while Democrats have long argued for similar increases for domestic programs. The deal includes more spending for both for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years. Read More

The dumbest shutdown ever

The following article by Rachael Bade and Seung Min Kim was posted on the Politico website February 8, 2018:

The sole purpose of the all-nighter is to ensure federal employees can show up for work Friday without interruption.

Rand Paul and Nancy Pelosi have virtually nothing in common. But on Thursday night, the conservative Kentucky firebrand and San Francisco Democratic leader teamed up to push Washington into what Capitol Hill dwellers are calling the dumbest shutdown fight ever.

Incensed that a bipartisan budget deal would balloon the national debt, Paul delayed a roll call on a long-term budget agreement until after the midnight deadline to fund the government. Read More

Republicans Learn to Love Deficit Spending They Once Loathed

The following article by Alan Rappeport was posted on the New York Times website February 8, 2018:

Sen. McConnell, right, majority leader, and Sen. Schumer minority leader. Credit Al Drago for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Big government is officially back in style.

Republicans propelled themselves to power in Washington by promising an end to fiscal recklessness. They are now embracing the kind of free spending and budget deficits they once claimed to loathe.

On Friday, Congress passed a bipartisan spending deal that blows through the caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act, unlocking $300 billion in additional spending for the military and domestic programs over the next two years. That comes on top of last year’s $1.5 trillion tax cut package and as the White House prepares to unveil on Monday a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan that would require $200 billion in government funding. Read More

Tammy Duckworth, senator and war hero, takes on President Trump, aka ‘Cadet Bone Spurs’

The following article by Jenny Jarvie was posted on the Washington Post website February 7, 2018:

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) arrives for a vote at the Capitol last month. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Tammy Duckworth, the Democratic U.S. senator representing Illinois, has emerged as one of President Trump’s most pointed critics, repeatedly pushing back at his attempts to portray her party as unpatriotic.

An Army veteran who lost both her legs while serving in Iraq, Duckworth has needled Trump about his draft deferments during the Vietnam War, giving him the nickname “Cadet Bone Spurs” for the foot diagnosis that allowed him to stay out of the military.

“I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger,” she said on the Senate floor in January after Trump blamed Democrats for a government shutdown and accused them of holding the military hostage. Read More

The Tax Cuts Are Truly a Crummy Deal for Most of Us

The following article was posted on the Creators website February 8, 2018:

Credit: mconners via morguefile.com

Would someone kindly replace Nancy Pelosi as a spokesperson for Democrats? The House minority leader’s riff on the tax bill as “crumbs” for average Americans bombed on two fronts. One was her snide and preachy tone. The other was linking “crumbs” to $1,000-or-better bonuses that a few companies said they will distribute out of their tax savings.

Not that Pelosi was entirely wrong. House Speaker Paul Ryan rescued her with his tweet about a woman doing backflips over a tax cut amounting to $1.50 a week. Read More

GOP friendly fire imperils Trump nominees

The following article by Anthony Adragna was posted on the Politico website February 8, 2018:

Republican senators seeking concessions on issues like disaster funding, marijuana and ethanol are one reason Trump’s picks have had trouble getting confirmed

Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is blocking an Energy Dpt nominee over the agency’s practice of selling excess government-controlled uranium. Credit: John Shinkle/POLITICO

A throng of Republican senators is holding up the confirmations of some of President Donald Trump’s nominees — even as he continues to blame the logjam on Democratic “obstruction.”

At least 11 Republican senators in recent months have disclosed they’re blocking votes on nominees for agencies including the Energy, Agriculture, State, Homeland Security and Justice departments. The vast majority of those delays remain in place while the lawmakers demand concessions on issues such as ethanol regulations, marijuana, disaster funding and nuclear waste. Read More

Trump declares newly released FBI texts “BOMBSHELLS,” though the picture they paint is murky

The following article by Matt Zapotosky and Karoun Demirjian was posted on the Washington Post website February 7, 2018:

Senate Homeland Security Chair Johnson (R-Wis.) initiated a fresh round of attacks on two FBI officials investigating Clinton and Trump, releasing hundreds of pages of texts between them and a report he said raises questions about how the FBI handled its most high-profile probes of political figures. Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) initiated a fresh round of attacks Wednesday on two of the FBI officials involved in investigating Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, releasing hundreds of pages of texts between the pair and a report that raises questions about how the bureau has handled its most high-profile probes of political figures.

Though many of the messages already had been made public, President Trump quickly seized on their release, writing on Twitter, “NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!”

Collectively, the texts show the two officials disliked Trump and feared what he might do as president, and they freely intermingled talk of politics with talk of work. But the pair also seemed to harbor animosity for many other politicians, including Democrats, and even co-workers. Read More