House Slashes Food Assistance

On Thursday, the House Republicans passed the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act (H.R. 3102) to cut approximately $39 billion from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) over the next decade.  If enacted, these cuts would eliminate food assistance to 3.8 million low-income Americans.

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Budgets Are about Choices

Earlier this month, the city council of Topeka, KS, voted to decriminalize domestic violence in what has become a national-headline-grabbing budget dispute between the city and its county seat, Shawnee. Some are arguing that it's a sad spectacle when a couple of local governments within our nation play jurisdictional games with such a serious issue, but it's important to point out that the standoff didn't have to occur.

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WaPo on the Drivers of Debt

They just can't help themselves

Last week, I noted the Washington Post's flawed execution of journalistic "even-handedness" in its editorial on President Obama's draft executive order (EO) on contractor disclosure. It seems the paper is once again leveling partisan disparities with a snazzy new interactive graphic on the drivers of our nation's debt, titled, "Votes that pushed us into the red."

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'Tax Freedom Day' Still a Sham

His tummy hurts because he's been binging on right-wing economic propaganda.

On Wednesday, the Tax Foundation released their estimate for this year's "Tax Freedom Day" (TFD). For those not familiar with the right-leaning organization's annual made-up holiday, it marks when, according to the Tax Foundation, Americans will have "earned enough money to pay this year's tax obligations at the federal, state, and local levels." As is always the case with TFD, it's an exceptionally simplistic and misleading way to look at taxes.

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Why Are We Only Talking about Spending Cuts?

All the GOP cares about is jobs, jobs, jobs!

With Congress poised to send President Obama another continuing resolution (CR) temporarily keeping the federal government open, Senate Democrats, in conjunction with the administration, have just three weeks to negotiate with House Republicans over a funding bill for the rest of fiscal year (FY) 2011. The negotiations will concentrate on spending cuts made by the Republican House, but they shouldn't.

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This is What Happens When You Extend Unpaid-For Tax Cuts

'Martha's polishing the brass on the titanic.  It's all going down man...'

Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) – Congress' nonpartisan fiscal scorekeeper – released their revised budget and economic outlook for fiscal year (FY) 2011 through FY 2021. The most newsworthy element of the new estimates is this year's revised deficit projection. As most media outlets noted, Uncle Sam's predicted budgetary shortfall for 2011 went from just over $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion. Extension of the unpaid-for Bush tax cuts comprises almost the entire additional shortfall.

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CBO: Repeal of ACA Will Explode Future Deficits

What's the opposite of well thought out and helpful public policy?

Here's an interesting piece of news out of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO): the Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will increase federal budget deficits "something in the vicinity of $230 billion" over the next ten years. What was that pledge the GOP made to the American people before the midterms? It included something about bringing down deficits, didn't it?

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'Constitution-Minded' Republicans to Introduce Budget Authoritarianism

This is not an ambiguous document!

When the new Republican-controlled House gavels in tomorrow, legislative business will begin with a reading of the Constitution, a stunt brought about by what the Washington Post dubbed "the tea party-ization of Congress." More importantly, the House will also adopt new rules to determine how the legislative body operates over the next two years. One of the rules changes, though, flies in the face of the GOP's championing of governmental transparency and fairness.

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Curtailing Deficits without Touching Defense Spending is Silly

'Did you call me silly?'

In their newly released, talking-point-heavy "Pledge to America," House Republicans say they are offering "a plan to stop out-of-control spending and reduce the size of government" if voters put them back in charge in November. One area of government the plan doesn't call for reducing, however, is the Department of Defense (DOD). In fact, the new conservative governing proposal explicitly exempts the DOD budget from their proposed cuts to bring federal spending back to "pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels."

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Friday Appropriations Update: Boehner Has a Plan

With Congress returning from its summer break next week, the appropriations process should begin again as well. Since Congress has been gone for the past few weeks since we last updated you, there isn't anything new to report. But! Never fear, we have been using this time to revamp our patented AppropriationsWatchTM. We moved it over to GoogleDocs, allowing us to add links, which you can click to see the relevant documents for each appropriations bill. And, moving over to GoogleDocs makes it easier for you, the audience, if you want to copy the table and play around with the numbers. Want to see what happens if you cut Department of Defense spending in half? Go right ahead.

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