Entries in Budget Deal (11)


Democrats Present Their Budget Plan Wednesday

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The proposal being unveiled by Senate Democrats on Wednesday to balance the nation's books will be markedly different from what Republican Congressman Paul Ryan presented on Tuesday in that it offers both significant spending cuts and tax revenue increases.

Specifically, Washington Democrat Patty Murray, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, will propose $1 trillion in tax hikes through 2013 that would largely be paid for by closing tax breaks and loopholes enjoyed by wealthy Americans and corporations.

Murray says there will be an equal amount in spending reductions affecting a wide swath of programs, including entitlements, although the annual deficit of over $1 trillion would be shrunk rather than completely eradicated.

The measure gets its first vote in the committee on Thursday, with all 10 Democrats expected to approve the bill and all eight Republicans certain to vote against it.  It also marks the first budget offered by Senate Democrats since 2009.

Ryan's latest budget would cut $4.6 trillion in spending by 2023 and decrease net spending from $46 trillion to only $41 trillion over the next decade.  There would be no new taxes.

As promised, Ryan also wants to repeal the president’s healthcare law, simplify the tax code into two brackets and cut federal pensions.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


David Plouffe: Revenue Debate Not Over

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- White House senior adviser David Plouffe said on Sunday that despite Republican warnings that the tax debate is over, President Obama would not accept a budget deal without additional revenue.

“We are going to require some more revenues,” Plouffe said on “This Week.” “John Boehner himself said he thought there was $800 billion in revenues from closing loopholes. We’ve dealt with the tax rate issue, now it’s about loopholes.”

“And I think the country would be well served by tax and entitlement reform because it would help the economy,” he added.

Plouffe said that Obama has met Republicans “more than halfway,” and that any deal needs to be “balanced.” Republicans, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, have said that the revenue debate is “over” and that they would not negotiate with the White House for additional revenue in a budget deal.

“We need spending cuts and entitlement reform and revenue. Have to have that,” Plouffe said.

When I asked him if Republicans have caved with their new debt ceiling strategy, he said that they had.

“Yeah, I think they have on this principle, and that’s very important,” he said. ”This is a big departure for them.”

Plouffe said that in Obama’s inauguration address he will lay out his vision for his second term, and will provide a “blueprint” in his State of the Union address.

He said that in his second term, Obama will push for “common ground” on issues like the deficit, immigration reform and gun control.

“It’s clear there’s a huge consensus in the country about how we ought to approach the deficit and the economy—issues like immigration and gun safety,” Plouffe said. “I think he’s going to be very frustrated if Washington is completely divorced from the reality in the country.”

“So he’s going to seek common ground. He’s going to find every way he can to compromise. But he’s going to be pretty clear, and we’re also going to bring the American people more into the debate than we did in the first term.”

Despite misgivings among several Democratic Senators about the president’s proposals on gun control, Plouffe said he believes a deal is possible, although difficult to achieve. He said he believes that opinions in Washington are changing on the issue, citing the example of pro-gun Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin who expressed an openness to discuss the issue.

“We don’t expect it all to pass … in its current form,” he said. “We’re going to twist the arms of Democrats, Republicans and we’re going to engage the American people in this debate.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Asks for Prayer on Budget Deal

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(BANGKOK, Thailand) -- Taking a break from deficit negotiations for a whirlwind tour of Southeast Asia, President Obama joked Sunday afternoon as he toured a sacred Buddhist temple that he could use some prayer to help reach a budget deal.

“We’re working on this budget, we’re going to need a lot of prayer for that,” the president told a monk at the Wat Pho Royal Monastery.

The president later explained the quip at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. “I always believe in prayer,” he said. “If a Buddhist monk is wishing me well, I’m going to take whatever good vibes he can give me to try to deal with some challenges back home.”

Shortly after arriving in Bangkok, Obama, accompanied by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, toured the Viharn of the Reclining Buddha, one of the most famous sites in Thailand, and the Eastern Viharn Phra.

Obama and Clinton talked softly with the robed monk as they walked, shoe-less, through the holy temple.

Continuing their private tour through an ornate courtyard known as the Phra Maha Chedi Group Clinton remarked “what a peaceful place” it was.

“If you have 80,000 people here it’s not so peaceful,” the president noted. “This is kind of a treat.”

The president also met and exchanged gifts with ailing King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The president greeted the 84-year-old king at the Siriraj hospital, where he has lived since 2009.

“It’s a great honor to meet with you,” Obama said. “Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. We send greetings from all the people of the United States who are so grateful for the friendship of our two countries and are great admirers of yours – your wisdom and your leadership.”

The king gave Obama several gifts including one for the First Lady. “Oh, thank you, Michelle, my wife [will] appreciate it,” Obama said.

“She’ll look very good in that color, Mr. President,” Clinton remarked.

In return, the president gave the king a photo album with pictures of all the U.S. presidents and first ladies he has met, starting with Dwight Eisenhower and continuing through George W Bush.

“We left the last page blank,” Obama said, so they could add a photo of themselves.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


WH Advisor David Plouffe Says No Budget Deal Reached Yet

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- White House senior advisor David Plouffe says there is no formal agreement between Congress and the White House on a final budget deal, but that the framework of a viable deal is shaping up as the Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline nears.

"No, there's no deal," Plouffe told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour on Sunday, before outlining the framework being discussed.

"Both parties agree that there is going to be a first stage deficit reduction - over a trillion dollars," Plouffe said. "There will be a congressional committee established. They're not going to reduce the deficit without tax reform and without entitlement reform."

Plouffe acknowledged that the current framework would not include tax revenue increases in the first stage, but said that would be up to appointed committee members to "get out of their comfort zone" in order to achieve deficit reduction.

"You're going to have to have closing of tax loopholes," Plouffe said. "You're going to have to have revenue produced to close the deficit."

Plouffe added that an enforcement mechanism being debated would apply pressure to the committee to reach long-term deficit reductions, as a combination of budget cuts and tax reforms would automatically be applied if the committee could not come to a consensus later this year.

"We're talking about a variety of options here," Plouffe said. "But the key principle is that the enforcement mechanism will be strong enough to compel both parties."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Minnesota Government Shuts Down Amid Debt Fallout

DC Productions/Photodisc/Thinkstock(SAINT PAUL, Minn.) -- Minnesota's government has shut down ahead of the holiday weekend for the second time in six years. State leaders failed to find common ground on resolving a $5 billion budget deficit.

Thousands of state workers will be laid off, state parks will be shuttered, the issuance of fishing licenses will be halted and the Minneapolis zoo will be closed.  Road projects will also grind to a standstill just as people hit the road for the holiday.

A midnight deadline passed without an agreement as talks between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and top Republicans unraveled over Dayton's proposal to impose taxes on the state's top earners, a move on which top GOP officials have refused to budge.

"It's significant that this shutdown will begin on the Fourth of July weekend," Dayton said in a news conference late Thursday night.  "On that date we celebrate our independence.  It also reminds us there are causes and struggles worth fighting for."

Dayton said he has been clear with state GOP leaders for several months that he is unwilling to agree on anything other than a total budget approach.

GOP leaders said the two sides were closer than Dayton is leading on, and have criticized his refusal to call a special session to pass a "lights on" budget bill, which would maintain safety funding at current levels to keep government running.  GOP leaders have said that the bill is a two-page document that is ready to be passed, according to Minneapolis- St. Paul ABC News affiliate KSTP.

"I think the governor's insistence that we pass a full budget is not going to be of much comfort to Minnesotans who are going to see delays on the highways because construction projects stop," Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said.  "It's not going to comfort people who can't use our state parks, or who can't get a driver's license."

"If the governor is willing to negotiate, I'll be right here on the Fourth of July," Koch said Thursday night.

Dayton did acknowledge that GOP leaders offered a K-12 education shift, as well as using some tobacco settlement money to bridge a gap between the two opposing sides, according to KSTP.  Talks didn't go anywhere, though, and Dayton said he sees no other way other than shutting down the government, in what he calls a "fair deal for Minnesotans," KSTP reported.

Residents across Minnesota -- the United States' 12th largest state with more than five million residents -- will be affected by the shutdown over the long weekend.  Some programs that will continue unabated include critical services like the State Patrol, prisons, disaster response and federally funded health, welfare and food stamp programs.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Budget 2011: Cutting the Deficit Without Really Cutting?

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Will the bipartisan deal that shaved $38.5 billion from the federal budget for 2011 immediately affect the soaring deficit so many Americans say they're worried about?

The answer is not really, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, a group of accountants and analysts who study the plans.  The agency says the much-touted deal, approved Thursday, will only save $352 million through the end of the fiscal year -- a tiny fraction of the $1.4 trillion the U.S. has spent beyond its means.

"In this deal, unfortunately, a lot of the savings are based on government accounting phraseology," said Mike Tanner, a budget analyst with the CATO Institute.

Congress decides every year the maximum amount each government agency can spend on its programs and operations.  But often, the organizations don't use the allocations in their entirety.

"If you take away the money from the contingency fund for various agencies, you in one sense lower the amount of money that the government has," Tanner said.  "On the other hand, it wasn't necessarily ever going to spend it."

Critics say the accounting practice is mostly smoke and mirrors, and doesn't lead to real deficit reduction as lawmakers have promised the American public.  Many Republicans, however, insist the budget deal "takes away the Administration's license" to spend billions in "real money" Congress already approved for use.

"We're cutting $38.5 billion of money that has already been authorized and appropriated, and anybody that doesn't believe this money wouldn't be spent if we don't act is kidding themselves," House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday.

Experts, including the CBO, say Boehner is right over the long term, but that the plan likely will not shave billions off the deficit before the end of the fiscal year in September.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senate Passes Budget Deal, Sends to the White House

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In a 81-19 vote, the Senate passed a bipartisan funding deal that will finance the government through the completion of the fiscal year in September. 

Now that both the House and the Senate have voted in favor, the measure -- expected to cut $38.5 billion from the federal budget -- will be sent to the White House for President Obama's signature.

This is the same agreement reached last week by the president, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. 

Speaker Boehner said earlier Thursday that while the deal is "not perfect" and "no cause for celebration," it was just the first step Republicans are taking to cut spending.

The 19 senators voting against the deal consisted of 15 Republicans, three Democrats and one independent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Sen. Coats: Put Taxes, Ethanol Subsidies ‘On the Table’

Office of the United States Senator Dan Coats(WASHINGTON) -- House and Senate Republican leaders have made clear that tax increases can’t be part of the discussion over deficits and debt that President Obama had hoped to galvanize with a speech Wednesday afternoon.

But several rank-and-file Republicans in Congress are striking a different tone, casting taxes not as their preference but as something they need to invite into the discussion if they’re going to actually get something done in talks with the White House and Democrats in Congress.

Asked whether taxes should be part of the discussion over the deficit -- as the president has insisted -- Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., told ABC News: “Everything on the table.”

Reforming the tax code, Coats said, “has to be part of this package.” And the conversation needs to be broader, he said, even though he doesn’t want taxes overall to be any higher.

“Am I open to looking at the tax code? Absolutely. I'm part of a plan to do that. I'm glad the president is joining us. But I hope it's not just simply to raise taxes and raise revenue because the problem is spending, not taxes.”

Coats said he would also be willing to discuss phasing out subsidies for oil production and ethanol -- tax breaks he’s fought to maintain in the past.

“I said everything is on the table. And that includes ethanol, that includes oil subsidies. We have got -- I'm elected here to come to Washington to make the tough decisions. And even though they go against the political grain of things, no pun intended there regarding ethanol there -- I've talked to ethanol people. I've said that this is something that's got to make economic sense.”

“We may need phase down to the point where it does that. And I'm willing to put that on the table and have an honest discussion about it.”

Coats said he would vote for House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan. But he stopped short of an outright endorsement, saying he would also vote for other plans that he considers worthwhile contributions to the discussion.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Tim Pawlenty Urges GOP to Reject Budget Deal, Boehner's Office Hits Back

Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Potential presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty went out on a limb on Wednesday, and House Speaker John Boehner sought to knock him off of it.

Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota who recently formed a presidential exploratory committee, said in a statement on Wednesday that the budget deal brokered between the White House and Republicans on Capitol Hill “should be rejected.”

“The more we learn about the budget deal the worse it looks,” Pawlenty said in a statement after President Obama’s speech outlining his plans to reduce the national deficit.

“The fact that billions of dollars advertised as cuts were not scheduled to be spent in any case makes this budget wholly unacceptable,” Pawlenty continued. “It's no surprise that President Obama and Senator Reid forced this budget, but it should be rejected.”

Pawlenty's comments highlight divisions within the Republican Party about the deal brokered between Democrats and Speaker Boehner, R-Ohio, that averted a government shutdown late last week.

Pawlenty did not mention Boehner in his statement, but a spokesman for Boehner did not take kindly to Pawlenty's advice to lawmakers.

“The Speaker has always honored President Reagan’s ‘11th commandment,'" Michael Steel, a spokesman for the Speaker told ABC News, referring to the former president's adage: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."

Lawmakers are set to vote on the nearly $40 billion deal on Thursday. "This has been a long discussion and a long fight, but we fought to keep government spending down because it really will, in fact, help create a better environment for job creators in our country," Boehner said last Friday night, announcing the agreement.

House Minority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., told The Hill newspaper on Wednesday that "Pawlenty and others are entitled to their opinion," but that the deal was the best both sides could do.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Rep. Kinzinger: House Freshmen Likely to Support Budget Deal

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The budget deal cutting only $38.5 billion in federal spending this year registered as a disappointment to some conservatives – including Tea Party supporters who pressed for a quick $100 billion in cuts.

But newly elected representatives appear likely to support the deal negotiated by House Speaker John Boehner, freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger told ABC News on Tuesday.

“You could always cut more. We always want bigger cuts -- we always want more,” said Kinzinger, R-Ill. “But given the situation...given what we've been looking at -- and this is the largest decrease since World War II -- this is the opening salvo.”

“So am I fully happy with it? No. I would have loved to have seen more. But given the situation we're in, you know, as I continue to pore over this -- it's been released today -- this is something that I think I'll support.”

While each of the 87 House Republican freshmen will make up their own minds, Kinzinger said he thinks most of the class will vote along with Boehner. Kinzinger gave the speaker an “A” for his role in negotiations with Senate Democratic leaders and President Obama.

Kinzinger said he’s inclined to support the budget proposal put forward by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Ohio, saying, “I’m definitely leaning towards doing it.”

“This is a very bold vision that I think has been outlined. It's politically risky. There's no doubt about it. This is a risky vote. But the American people and the people in the 11th District did not send me here to make easy votes, to do politically easy things. They sent me here to make tough decisions. And this is it.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio