Newsletter: March 13, 2013

Volume | Issue 45
Congress and the Ulysses Solution:
When Tying Your Hands Can Work; And When It Doesn’t
By Mark V. Nadel, Senior Fellow

The sequester is in place despite Congress providing itself an expedited process meant to stave off these indiscriminate and draconian across-the-board cuts. Back in 2011, when congressional Republicans insisted on substantial spending cuts as the price of increasing the debt ceiling, the President and Speaker Boehner tried to reach a “grand bargain”. After failing in that endeavor, the White House and Congress agreed to the Budget Control Act (BCA) in August of that year. It established a “Super Committee,” which was given an express lane for enacting $1.2 trillion in budget cuts and revenue.


Upcoming GAI Course(s):

Preparing and Delivering Congressional Testimony

April 4 – 5, 2013

Federal officials must, on occasion, provide testimony before congressional committees. In order to be most effective in representing agency programs, testimony needs to be prepared and delivered with a clear understanding of the complexities of the congressional hearing process.


Working and Communicating More Effectively with Congress

April 2 – 3, 2013

This 2-day workshop will provide an in-depth understanding of the relationships between executive branch officials and congressional staff, as well as the specific skills needed to be most effective in this environment.


Director’s Desk

Both chambers remain on course to pass a largely uncontroversial extension of the expiring continuing resolution (CR) that will be comprised of an omnibus and probably five out of the 12 individual appropriations bills. It will set FY13 discretionary spending at $984b, equal to the sequester level, but with increased flexibility at departments covered by the spending bills, including Defense.  It will also contain dozens of “anomalies” that will permit targeted spending on things like the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, and embassy security.  It will contain a 1.7% military pay raise, but maintain the freeze on civilian pay. Yesterday House Republicans unveiled their FY14 budget plan, which if enacted would roll back a number of the Obama Administration’s legislative accomplishments, including core provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and dramatically cut non-defense discretionary spending.  Senate Democrats are set to unveil their budget next week, which will bear little resemblance to the House proposal.  Both chambers will likely pass their respective budget resolutions along partisan lines, but merging the two dramatically different plans would be a monumental feat.


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