Thursday, August 2, 2012

Obama Administration Signs On To Six Month Congressional Budget Deal

In a statement signaling Obama administration agreement with the House and Senate deal for a six month continuing resolution to fund federal government agencies past the upcoming elections, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also took the opportunity to let legislators know President Obama is not likely to agree to any 2013 budget cuts below the $1.047 trillion spending cap passed in last year’s Budget Control Act. Carney’s statement points out that while the administration welcomes the agreement, heading off massive layoff warnings to employees of federal government contractors, is a “welcome development,” but warns the president “has made clear that it is essential that the legislation to fund the government adheres to the funding levels agreed to by both parties last year, and not include ideological or extraneous policy riders.”

With the beginning of federal fiscal year 2013 less than two months away, the House has passed only six of the needed spending bills, with House Appropriations Committee approval of five more. There has been no action whatsoever on spending legislation in the Senate. Both houses will begin a six week summer recess days from now.

The continuing resolution will not be introduced or passed until Congress comes back into session in September, but the administration’s announcement of agreement with the deal between Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reid is certainly enough to let corporate lawyers at huge government contractors breathe more easily as they decide not to have their companies pass out WARN Act layoff notices to hundreds of thousands of their co-workers. The economic panic likely to have resulted from such mass notifications could not have helped either party in the upcoming Presidential and Congressional elections.

Our political leaders should all be severely embarrassed that it nearly always takes until the day before legal deadlines expire to get anything at all done in this gridlocked Washington D.C. political world, despite the fact that the agreed action is really helpful to citizens and constituents of both parties, and for the nation as a whole.

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