The federal budget war: key battles

February 28, 2011

Today’s budget wars – throughout the nation, at all levels of government – are the result of decades of chronic overpromising and overspending. But while previous governments have been able to both put off dealing with (or even publicly recognizing) the looming fiscal and economic crisis, the past years’ recession and still-slow economy has sped up our budgetary day of reckoning.

In the midst of several State budget showdowns, last week we gave you an overview of each state’s economic and fiscal condition. As Congress returns this week to face a showdown of its own, we thought we’d provide you with a quick guide to the key battles in this year’s federal budget war.

The Federal Budget War:

Key Battles

FISCAL YEAR 2011 CONTINUING RESOLUTION:

As Congress last year failed to pass a budget or single appropriations conference report, the federal government has been running on a temporary funding mechanism (a “continuing resolution” or CR) since the start of the current fiscal year that began on October 1.  On March 4, the latest extension of the CR will expire and — unless Congress can agree to a spending level — the government faces a shutdown on March 5.

On February 19, the U.S. House passed a CR that would fund the federal government through September 30 at $61 billion below the current level of $3 trillion (a CR must be at-or-below the previous year’s budget level). While Majority leaders in the Senate have signaled they will not accept the House-passed levels in a long-term CR, a government shutdown is not imminent. It appears House Republicans and Senate Democrats may compromise to achieve spending cuts in the current year. Stay tuned…this battle will play out in part this week!

FISCAL YEAR 2012 BUDGET – FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:

The official kick off of the Fiscal Year 2012 budget season – President Obama’s submission to Congress of his budget request for the coming year – began a week late. The President’s budget did not propose significant spending reforms, and would lead to the largest deficit in history.

Politicians and editorial boards from across the political spectrum reacted with disappointment, and call for Congress to do far better. Congress’ deadline to pass a budget is April 15, but since it is still mired in the FY 2011 budget battle (see above), there is little hope Congress will come close to meeting this deadline.

INCREASE IN THE U.S. DEBT CEILING:

The U.S. government is expected to reach its statutory debt limit (the point at which the government can no longer legally borrow) of $14.3 trillion in April or May. The U.S. has raised its debt ceiling 75 times since 1962, an average of 1.5 times every year. Congress last increased the debt limit in early 2010 and is now faced with doing so again. Three options are on the table: pass a straightforward increase in the debt limit; refuse to pass an increase in the debt limit and insist lawmakers cut spending enough to ensure the U.S. doesn’t reach the limit; or pass an increase that include cuts to future spending. 

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6 Responses to The federal budget war: key battles

  1. Carol Friendly says:

    I cannot spend money that I do not have. Why is our Federal Government doing that? There are so many things that could be cut: Social security given to the poor – if someone can afford to get along without it, they should. Cut agricultural subsidies: ie for tobacco; for land barons that do not grow anything. Cut Federal pensions, especially for those who are filthy rich already!! Congressmen, past presidents, and other bureaucracies – and get them to pay into their programs that they get benefit from – ie: health care. Cut any money going to organizations that commit abortions like: planned parenthood – they get 350 million of our money and at the same time, they make millions in profits. Planned Parenthood did 324,00 abortions compared to 900 adoption referrals and 2,400 other services. Also, the Mexico City fund or any other foreign fund that do abortions. There also so many overlapping programs that could be merged or cut. Do it!!!

  2. Carol Friendly says:

    I cannot spend money that I do not have. Why is our Federal Government doing that? There are so many things that could be cut: Social security given to the poor – if someone can afford to get along without it, they should. Cut agricultural subsidies: ie for tobacco; for land barons that do not grow anything. Cut Federal pensions, especially for those who are filthy rich already!! Congressmen, past presidents, and other bureaucracies – and get them to pay into their programs that they get benefit from – ie: health care. Cut any money going to organizations that commit abortions like: planned parenthood – they get 350 million of our money and at the same time, they make millions in profits. Planned Parenthood did 324,00 abortions compared to 900 adoption referrals and 2,400 other services. Also, the Mexico City fund or any other foreign fund that do abortions. There also so many overlapping programs that could be merged or cut. Do it!!!

  3. Carol Friendly says:

    I cannot spend money that I do not have. Why is our Federal Government doing that? There are so many things that could be cut: Social security given to the poor – if someone can afford to get along without it, they should. Cut agricultural subsidies: ie for tobacco; for land barons that do not grow anything. Cut Federal pensions, especially for those who are filthy rich already!! Congressmen, past presidents, and other bureaucracies – and get them to pay into their programs that they get benefit from – ie: health care. Cut any money going to organizations that commit abortions like: planned parenthood – they get 350 million of our money and at the same time, they make millions in profits. Planned Parenthood did 324,00 abortions compared to 900 adoption referrals and 2,400 other services. Also, the Mexico City fund or any other foreign fund that do abortions. There also so many overlapping programs that could be merged or cut. Do it!!!

  4. Concerned Woman says:

    @Carol Friendly: “Cut any money going to organizations that commit abortions like: planned parenthood – they get 350 million of our money and at the same time, they make millions in profits. …”

    “commit abortion”? What does that mean? Abortion is legal, so I don’t know what you mean by “commit”.

    “…they make millions in profits.”. Nope. Planned Parenthood is a 501(c) 3 organization. Do you know what that is? If you know anything about 501(c) 3′s, you know that in order to keep that status, they must abide by strict regulations.

    Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization that is committed to providing health care services, predominantly to women. The republicans have been attacking women’s rights vigorously for years. Don’t be fooled by what one Senator may say, or by something someone may have told you. Look at both sides of the issue.

    Here’s an interesting tidbit:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/apr/08/jon-kyl/jon-kyl-says-abortion-services-are-well-over-90-pe/

  5. Concerned Woman says:

    @Carol Friendly: “Cut any money going to organizations that commit abortions like: planned parenthood – they get 350 million of our money and at the same time, they make millions in profits. …”

    “commit abortion”? What does that mean? Abortion is legal, so I don’t know what you mean by “commit”.

    “…they make millions in profits.”. Nope. Planned Parenthood is a 501(c) 3 organization. Do you know what that is? If you know anything about 501(c) 3′s, you know that in order to keep that status, they must abide by strict regulations.

    Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization that is committed to providing health care services, predominantly to women. The republicans have been attacking women’s rights vigorously for years. Don’t be fooled by what one Senator may say, or by something someone may have told you. Look at both sides of the issue.

    Here’s an interesting tidbit:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/apr/08/jon-kyl/jon-kyl-says-abortion-services-are-well-over-90-pe/

  6. Concerned Woman says:

    @Carol Friendly: “Cut any money going to organizations that commit abortions like: planned parenthood – they get 350 million of our money and at the same time, they make millions in profits. …”

    “commit abortion”? What does that mean? Abortion is legal, so I don’t know what you mean by “commit”.

    “…they make millions in profits.”. Nope. Planned Parenthood is a 501(c) 3 organization. Do you know what that is? If you know anything about 501(c) 3′s, you know that in order to keep that status, they must abide by strict regulations.

    Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization that is committed to providing health care services, predominantly to women. The republicans have been attacking women’s rights vigorously for years. Don’t be fooled by what one Senator may say, or by something someone may have told you. Look at both sides of the issue.

    Here’s an interesting tidbit:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/apr/08/jon-kyl/jon-kyl-says-abortion-services-are-well-over-90-pe/

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