Federal Budget

Observations on President Obama’s Budget

Featured image President Obama has released his FY 2016 budget, an act that fulfills a legal requirement but otherwise has only political significance. It is notable how much attention is being given in the press to a document that has no possibility of resulting in legislation. Still, the budget is revealing in some ways. In the big picture, it confirms–if confirmation were needed–that Democrats have no vision for the future other than »

In Washington, Sessions Holds the Bridge Against Liberal Onslaught

Featured image One of ancient Rome’s great heroes was Horatius, who saved the city by holding a bridge, along with two friends, against an invading Etruscan army. In the end Horatius stood alone against the attackers, as Roman soldiers behind him destroyed the bridge to prevent the Etruscans from crossing. Senator Jeff Sessions reminds me of Horatius. For years, he has stood athwart the ambitious liberalism of those who want to fundamentally »

Per Capita Federal Spending Shows 40-Year Trends

Featured image Veronique de Rugy has performed a real service by compiling the data shown in the chart below, in a manner that I haven’t seen it before. The chart depicts per capita federal spending from 1962 to the present, broken down into three categories: discretionary, mandatory and net interest, and stated in constant 2014 dollars. First the chart, then some comments about it. Click to enlarge: Shown on a per capita »

Did Ted Cruz just pave the way for confirming a wave of Obama nominees?

Featured image The Senate has approved the so-called Cromnibus bill. It did so in a rare Saturday session. According to the Washington Post, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee forced the Saturday session: Prolonged debate on the spending bill, which passed on a 56-to-40 bipartisan vote, came after Cruz and Lee late Friday night derailed a carefully crafted plan between party leaders to allow senators to go home for the weekend and return »

The Wall Street Rider: What’s It All About?

Featured image As we noted here, Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren and most of the left wing of the Democratic Party turned against the continuing resolution/omnibus spending bill that squeaked through the House, ostensibly on the ground that it contained a “giveaway” to Wall Street. This was one of Pelosi’s several demagogic tweets: .@SpeakerBoehner is stacking the deck for Big Banks & his lobbyist friends. RT if you oppose the #BoehnerBankBailout! pic.twitter.com/gEJpbnT9t8 — »

Go figure

Featured image In an attempt to salvage “Cromnibus,” President Obama sent his chief of staff to Capitol Hill to present House Democrats with the following argument: the budget deal under consideration today is better for liberals than what Democrats will be able to get next year, when Republicans control both chambers of Congress. From the Democrats’ point of view, the president’s message seems both indisputable and dispositive. Yet Democrats resoundingly rejected Obama’s »

Cromnibus Survives, 219-206 [Updated]

Featured image It took nearly 60 Democrats to get the job done, but John Boehner and Barack Obama combined to slide the continuing resolution/omnibus spending bill through Congress. Still no explanation of why it is better to fund the fiscal year now, rather than in a month or two when Republicans control both chambers. Many conservatives are upset about the bill because it doesn’t attempt to de-fund amnesty. That isn’t my main »

Cromnibus Nearly Fails on Procedural Vote [UPDATED]

Featured image It’s Keystone Kops in Washington, as John Boehner’s continuing resolution/omnibus spending bill nearly failed a procedural vote to bring it to the floor this morning. The tally was 214-212, and it took one Republican vote-switcher to avoid a colossal embarrassment for Speaker Boehner. The embarrassment is bad enough, as the vote on the rule is normally along party lines. All Democrats voted against the rule this morning, which I take »

Defeat the omnibus

Featured image So far as we can tell, just about everything appears to be wrong with the omnibus spending bill coming before Congress for passage this week. To the extent that we are able to do so, I would like to amplify the voice of the editors of National Review in their editorial “Defeat the omnibus.” They write: The federal government’s funding authorization expires tonight at midnight, and the Republican plan to »

Spending Bill Moves Toward Passage Tomorrow

Featured image One of the last significant acts of the lame duck Congress will be passage of a spending bill that funds the federal government to the tune of around $1.1 trillion on an annualized basis. The bill goes through next September for all government agencies except the Department of Homeland Security, which will only be funded until February 27. The contents of the bill, still largely unknown–it is 1,600 pages long–were »

Congressional leaders to push through a $1.01 trillion dollar budget this week

Featured image As expected, congressional leaders have reached a budget deal. The government will be funded to the tune of $1.01 trillion. This amount will keep all agencies running through September of next year, except for the Department of Homeland Security. It will be funded only through late February. Mitch McConnell says that the Senate will pass the bill before it leaves town this week. Unfortunately, this means that legislators, not to »

How should Congress combat executive amnesty?

Featured image The Republican congressional leadership has formulated its short-term strategy for responding to President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty. It wants to pass a continuing resolution that will fund most of the government for a full year, but will fund the Department of Homeland Security — which is responsible for implementing the amnesty — for only a few months. It’s not a terrible strategy, but neither is it optimal, for two reasons. »

As our military commitments expand, the military shrinks

Featured image President Obama has found uses for the U.S. military in spite of himself. Max Boot points out that he has just sent 3,000 troops to Liberia to “fight” Ebola; 1,500–and counting–to Iraq to counter ISIS; and hundreds, possibly thousands, more to Eastern Europe to deter Russia. In addition, Obama sent more than 150 troops to Africa to fight Joseph Kony. And he keeps sending troops to carry out various Special »

Dueling Budgets In the House: Which One Is Extreme?

Featured image Today the House of Representatives voted on the budget that came out of its Budget Committee–the Paul Ryan Budget, as it is often known in the press. The budget, which would put the United States on a path toward fiscal sustainability, passed by a vote of 219-205. No Democrats voted to move toward a balanced budget and start dealing with our $17 trillion debt. On the other hand, a few »

Where America Went Wrong, and How We Can Get Back on the Track

Featured image This morning, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew appeared at a Senate Budget Committee hearing on President Obama’s FY 2015 budget proposal. Not a lot of attention has been paid to Obama’s budget, probably because, to an even greater extent than usual, it is dead on arrival. There is zero chance of it being the basis for federal spending next year, let alone the next ten years. Still, it has significance as »

Obama Administration Can’t Describe Its Own Budget Honestly

Featured image This morning Cynthia Burwell, Director of the White House Office of Management And Budget, testified before the Senate Budget Committee on President Obama’s just-submitted FY 2015 budget. Currently, federal discretionary spending is capped by the Ryan-Murray compromise spending bill that Obama signed just 10 weeks ago. Yet Obama’s budget ignores that compromise entirely, and proposes to spend an additional $56 billion in the discretionary category, above and beyond the current »

Obama Delivers Dead-On-Arrival Budget, Lies About It

Featured image President Obama offered his FY 2015 budget proposal today. There were not a lot of surprises, as the key elements of the budget had been leaked over the last week or two. This is how Obama characterized the document in his appearance at an elementary school: [I]t enables us to meet our obligations to future generations without a mountain of debt. This is mystifying. Currently the federal government is more »