House Passes Two-Year Budget Deal Increasing Spending With Trump’s Support

The House passed a sweeping two-year budget deal Thursday that increases spending for military and domestic programs and suspends the debt ceiling through mid-2021, sending the White House-backed legislation to the Senate.
Donald Trump used to hate raising the debt ceiling…

From the Washington Post:

The House passed a sweeping two-year budget deal Thursday that increases spending for military and domestic programs and suspends the debt ceiling through mid-2021, sending the White House-backed legislation to the Senate.

A large majority of Democrats voted for the legislation, while a majority of Republicans opposed it despite appeals from President Trump to support the bill.

The 284-149 vote was one of the last acts by the House before lawmakers leave Washington for a six-week summer recess. The Senate is expected to act on the bill next week and sent it to Trump for his signature before senators, too, abandon the Capitol for the summer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters today, “After the House approves it today with bipartisan support, I expect the Senate to do the same next week.”

Trump is especially jazzed about the deal because it could help goose the economy in the short-term by borrowing tons more cash as we head into the 2020 election cycle. He tweeted his support in advance of the vote:

But, of course, when he was running for president, the Donald was very critical of raising the debt limit.

There’s always a tweet…

House Speaker John Boehner slaps back at the Tea Party over budget deal

It would appear that House Speaker John Boehner has had enough of the Tea Party rhetoric.

Upon the announcement that Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan have worked out a proposed budget deal, Boehner was asked if he was concerned about “major conservative groups who have rejected the deal.” Boehner had this to say:

“You mean the groups that came out and opposed it before they ever saw it?” he asked. ”They’re using our members, and they’re using the American people for their own goals. This is ridiculous. Listen, if you’re for more deficit reduction, you’re for this agreement.”

Clearly, Boehner is done bowing to tea party folks like Heritage Action that pushed the party into a 16-day shutdown two months ago.

Congress may vote on Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan’s deal as soon as the end of this week. The compromise bill softens the blow of some of the sequester cuts for the next two years, and cuts the deficit by $23 billion.

Read more at MSNBC

House Republicans double down on their own constituents

As the federal government shutdown becomes imminent, it’s an ironic moment to pause and see that when looking at the states with the highest levels of federal employees about to be furloughed by the GOP House due to poor politics regarding the Affordable Care Act, four of the top five states are deeply red states.

Seven of the top ten states are red states.

Yes, they are hurting their own constituents.

So, as the Tea Party Repubs fight to shut the government down to “teach some lesson” or exact some kind of revenge on a President they so dearly hate, they might want to look at exactly WHO they are hurting. 

President Obama won’t ever run in another election.  He can handle his office with a clear conscience of not “owing” anybody. 

The House Republicans, on the other hand, are in another position.

The latest “offer” from the House GOP was to send a Continuing Resolution with the attached requirement of assigning a negotiating team to meet with the Senate counterparts to figure out a budget.

This past spring, the House and the Senate each passed their own budgets.  Normally, there would have been meetings to resolve those issues in a timely manner.  July 11th of this year marked the 16th time Senate Democrats asked to meet with House GOP counterparts to “mark up” the budget bill.   GOP members refused.  Sen. Marco Rubio blocked the unanimous consent request to negotiate.

Now, minutes from midnight, House GOP member are asking to do what Senate Dems requested months ago.

Why?  Because they hoped to “force” Democrats hand and somehow stop ObamaCare from taking effect.  As I write this, ObamaCare has TAKEN effect.  Too late.

In fact, the legislation became law exactly as the founders intended: both houses of the legislative branch debated and passed the bill; the President signed it into law.  Not only that, but it was brought to the Supreme Court and was found to constitutional.  Done.  It’s law. 


Because their gamble has failed, now the House GOP sits with egg on their face, trying to find a way to exit with some kind of grace.

 The kind of grace only found in a Three Stooges routine.  Only this time, there are a whole lot more stooges.

President Obama to House GOP – Government shutdown will hurt real people right away

President Obama placed the blame squarely on the decisions and actions of the House Republicans for what looks to be an imminent federal government shutdown.

From USA Today:

President Obama blamed an imminent government shutdown on House Republicans Monday, and said his health care plan is “moving forward” despite GOP efforts to de-fund it.

“You can’t shut it down,” Obama said of the law at the White House. Obama also said a partial government shutdown — which would start at midnight unless there is an 11th hour deal — will damage economic recovery and hurt “real people right away.”

Obama said the shutdown will close federal offices, delay checks, close parks, and damage loan programs.

Meanwhile, Social Security, Medicare, mail, and public safety functions will continue despite the shutdown, Obama said. “The federal government is America’s largest employer,” Obama said. “These Americans are our neighbors.”

Accusing the Republicans of trying to re-fight last year’s election and the health care battles of 2009-10, Obama called delay and de-funding efforts “the height of irresponsibility.”

So what happens if the government does shut down?

With the Republicans in the House doubling down on demanding defunding or at least postponing ObamaCare for a year in exchange for keeping the government running, it is almost certain the government is heading for a shutdown as of midnight Monday night.  How long is unsure – could be hours, days or weeks.

What happens in that case?  Just a few examples of what to expect – via Yahoo News:

• If you’re one of the 800,000 federal workers who are deemed as
non-essential, you will be directly affected immediately and not report
to work.

• If you’re
applying for a passport or visa, you will likely be out of luck.

• First-time home buyers looking for a mortgage will be delayed because
the Federal Housing Administration will be closed.

• The 401 national
parks will be off-limits starting Tuesday morning.

• The biggest fear for
hundreds of thousands of federal workers – and members of the military
will be if they receive back pay. In the last shutdown nearly two
decades ago, workers received lost wages. That’s not guaranteed this

• And finally –  a shutdown will cost, not save,
taxpayers’ money. A study from the non-partisan Office of Management and Budget puts
the overall economic price tag for a shutdown around $2 billion.

It should be noted that never before in the history of the country has a budget bill been tied to repealing an existing law, i.e. ObamaCare.

Also, the last time the government shut down was 17 years ago and it cost the Republicans dearly at the following election.

Just saying…

U.S. on track for lowest full-year deficit in five years, $117 billion budget surplus in June

From MarketWatch: The federal government posted a budget surplus of $117 billion in June, the Treasury Department said Thursday, reflecting both higher tax receipts and lower spending in the month and keeping the U.S. on track for its lowest full-year deficit in five years.

Including the June surplus, the budget deficit for the first nine months of the 2013 fiscal year totaled $510 billion, down 44% from the same period a year ago.

It was a record-high surplus for June, and the largest monthly surplus since April 2008. In June of last year, the government ran a deficit of $60 billion.

Now since the folks on the right have been saying the poor economy was President Obama’s fault, does this good news mean the President gets the credit for helping to create lowest deficit in five years?  Hmm…

More at MarketWatch

Close the Hedge Fund Tax Loophole

Politicians currently negotiating to reduce the national debt and not wreck havoc with the US’s credit rating are looking at several solutions to help bring the budget under control. President Obama and the Democrats are looking at closing some “tax loopholes” that add up to serious tax giveaways to the wealthy.

One of the tax breaks upon which President Obama has focused is a provision that allows hedge fund managers — who make billions annually — to receive a substantial tax break. This particular tax break, known as the carried-interest loophole, allows hedge fund managers to treat the money they receive from investors as capital gains, subject to a 15 percent tax rate, instead of their actual income tax bracket rate.

Though this money is a paycheck received for services, it’s treated as “return on investment” income, which is taxed at a much lower rate.

Since hedge fund managers are some of the richest people in the country, this tax break actually causes a significant loss of revenue. According to calculations by RJ Eskow, closing this loophole would raise more than $4 billion per year just from the 25 richest hedge fund managers:

The top 25 hedge fund managers in the United States collectively earned $22 billion last year, and yet they have their own cushy set of tax rules. If they operated under the same rules that apply to other people — police officers, for example, or teachers — the country could cut its national deficit by as much as $44 billion in the next ten years.

Economist Robert Reich estimates that closing the hedge fund loophole could raise as much as $20 billion a year in revenue, overall.

Cantor & Kyl walk out of negotiations to protect tax breaks for those who make over $500K

On Thursday this week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) walked out of budget negotiations over a dispute with Democrats about raising revenues. Today, more details emerged about exactly what Republicans happened and why the walk-out.

From Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a member of the bipartisan debt discussion group led by Vice President Joe Biden, said that Republicans chose to “protect taxpayer subsidies for big oil companies, tax breaks for corporate jets, and tax breaks for millionaires”:

Democrats want to close tax loopholes that benefit oil companies, and eliminate a tax preference that gives corporate aircraft a friendlier depreciation schedule than commercial aircraft. Additionally, Van Hollen said, Democrats were proposing to phase out tax deductions and certain credits for people making more than $500,000 a year. These would be paired with a reduction in the tax burden on lower earners, by eliminating existing limitations on their deductions.

“The message Republicans sent was…unless we accept their lopsided approach…they’re prepared to tank the economy,” Van Hollen said.

Cantor’s spokesman, Brad Dayspring, described the impasse as being over “Democrats’ push to raise taxes” on “individuals, small businesses, and employers,” which is the language Republicans often use to make their position sound more pleasant sounding than “defending tax breaks for millionaires.”

Democratic aides also said Republicans’ refusal to consider defense spending cuts to alleviate painful cuts to domestic programs was “central” to the negotiation breakdown. As Democrats have repeatedly emphasized, it’s impossible to improve the country’s debt situation without raising revenues or by slashing discretionary spending alone.