Posts tagged Congress
Posts tagged Congress
Congress Doled Out Staff Bonuses Ahead of Fiscal Cliff
While the rest of the country braced for the fiscal cliff, members of Congress were busy doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses to their staffs ahead of new tax increases that kicked in this year.
A new CNN analysis found that nearly a quarter of House lawmakers handed out pre-cliff bonuses, including the most generous, Rep. Gary Ackerman, D, NY who spent $147,633, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, who spent $91,335 and Rep. Langevin, D-RI, who spent $70, 117 toward staff bonuses.
House members have complete discretion over how to spend their budgets, which are appropriated through Congress and funded by tax dollars.
READ THE FULL STORY: The Fiscal Times.
Mary Jo White, the nominee to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, plans to tell lawmakers on Tuesday that she will bring a “bold and unrelenting” enforcement program to the agency if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
“Investors and all market participants need to know that the playing field of our markets is level and that all wrongdoers -individual and institutional … will be aggressively pursued by the SEC,” said White in prepared testimony released ahead of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee.
“Proceeding aggressively against wrongdoers is not only the right thing to do, but it also will serve to deter the sharp and unlawful practices of others,” White added.
The federal government enters a controversial new phase of deficit cutting Friday, as an automatic trigger begins slicing budgets in some areas while leaving programs such as Medicare and Medicaid—among the largest drivers of future debt—largely untouched.
The $85 billion in so-called sequester cuts push Washington, and the nation’s economy, into uncertain waters. The debate over the across-the-board reductions has added to the already-high level of acrimony between Democrats and Republicans on fiscal matters, lowered even further the public’s estimation of the capital’s leaders and raised consumer fears about the economy, according to polls.
In the eyes of many budget experts, though, it is doing something worse: By focusing on a proportionally small level of spending, the sequester fight is distracting attention from longer-term deficit issues that need to be addressed.
Even cuts that have some bipartisan support, such as limiting the growth of future Social Security benefits or ending farm subsidies, have been shelved amid the brinkmanship.
“If they could get this fixed, the economy is poised to take off,” Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Brian Moynihan said in an interview.
President Barack Obama is meeting Friday with congressional leaders to discuss the sequester. If, as expected, they find no way to avoid it, Mr. Obama will sign an order directing government agencies to begin implementing the cuts.
Attention is beginning to shift from Friday, when the broad cuts known as the sequester kick in, to the next budget deadline: Congress must pass a so-called continuing resolution by the end of March to keep funding government operations.
Just like that, Congress took a walk this week. The House adjourned on Friday and the Senate took off this morning. They apparently needed a vacation. You know, since they’ve been working so hard for all of two weeks. Yep, just two weeks after they came back from a five week summer vacation, they’ve taken another vacation (oops, I meant “recess”) – this one until mid-November. It seems that months of doing absolutely nothing makes a legislator tired.
Or maybe, if they were honest, they’d admit that they just don’t want to do anything before the election.
But let’s think about all they got accomplished before they went on vacation.
Give me a minute.
Give me another minute.
Nope, can’t think of anything.
Those expiring tax cuts? Nothing.
The farm bill? Nada.
Jobs act? Still sitting.
Deficit management? Er, no.
AMT (alternative minimum tax) reform? Crickets.
To be clear, Congress plans to do more of what’s it’s been doing (nothing) for the next two months. It’s a far cry from 2000 when the 106th Congress took a mere nine day break around the election and it marks one of the earliest recessions for Congress in more than fifty years. Good thing there’s nothing that needs attention just now, huh?
September 1, 1894: By an act of Congress, Labor Day is declared a national holiday. Since this time Labor Day has been observed on the first Monday of every September.
Republicans don’t like Dodd-Frank, but what would happen to financial reform if they were in the driver’s seat? Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal it, but many of the law’s biggest critics doubt that will happen, even under a GOP Congress and administration. What’s more, Republicans suggest there are other reforms they’d like to see to the financial system.
Read More: WashingtonPost