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Unusual Appropriations

The budget process created in 1974 put into place a mechanism to limit the power of appropriators and try to slow down spending growth.  By having either a Budget Resolution put a cap on discretionary spending or, when no Resolution is agreed to, having the Appropriations Committee put in place (or “deem”) a cap, the


CBO predicts blizzard of debt

Saw a great tweet yesterday from Paul Singer (@singernews).  In reply to Lisa Dejardins’ (@lisaDNews) tweet on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) Budget and Economic Outlook: 2016 to 2026 (the Executive Summary was released Jan. 18) report predicting that the US will spend $6 trillion just on interest over the next 10 years Singer wrote


Will Congress finally have a normal(ish) appropriations cycle?

Last week, there was a story (pay wall) in Congressional Quarterly on the Military Construction-VA Appropriations bill.  I was intrigued when Rep. David Price (NC-4), the longtime appropriator on the Democratic side and the current Ranking Member on the Transportation-HUD Subcommittee (T-HUD) was predicting that “there would be a point during the appropriations process


In Defense of “Sandwich Making”

I love Jon Stewart and believe the information that the Daily Show puts out, while satirical, is often more accurate than the main stream media.  That said, his opening piece on Monday, April 20th, where he castigates Congress for getting excited about legislating, is set on the wrong premise. Stewart’s main premise comes out


Is Seat Flipping in the Senate a Big Deal?

A lot is being said about the historic nature of Republicans flipping 8-9 Senate seats and beating four incumbent Democrats (and possibly as many as five by December) during the election of 2014.  However, that’s not terribly unusual in the Senate.  Of the current Members of the Senate, 48 won their seats either by


Earmarks and Eric Cantor’s Primary Loss

Ashley Parker and Jonathan Martin have an excellent piece in The New York Times on the changing demographics of voters in suburban districts and how that led to primary defeats of Sen. Thad Cochran in Mississippi (now in a runoff) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia. I think they underplay a critical


Reid Goes On Record For Earmarks

Earmark reform is a hot topic on Capitol Hill and in the advocacy community. Earlier this week, Senator Reidcommented on the need to repeal the ban on earmarks.  This is not a new sentiment for many members of the House and Senate.  What is new is for a congressional leader to actually


Is Obama’s budget DOA?

In yesterday’s Washington Post, Lori Montgomery did an excellent job laying out why Obama’s budget matters less this year than most.  But don’t let that fool you; it still matters, and matters a ton. First, Congress has fewer than 150 staff in the House and Senate combined who review the president’s budget and put


Last One Out…

This week has been a big one for congressional retirements (Coburn, McCarthy, McKeon, McIntyre, Moran, Owens).  Many we have heard about, including half a dozen Members, for various reasons but at least one columnist has speculated that it is the working conditions.  Other departures have been more quiet as three senior House Appropriations Committee staffers


Congressional Staff Continue to be Punching Bag

This morning on WTOP’s morning program Rep. Andy Harris (MD-1) blamed the government shutdown on Democrats’ refusal to remove the “gold-plated” health care benefit from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  That’s the provision that allows the government to chip in for Members and their staff’s health benefits.  Interestingly, fellow Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, a sponsor


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