WBEZ | The Federal Budget Crunch http://www.wbez.org/tags/federal-budget-crunch Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A 'Radical' Plan To Cut Military Spending http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-04-30/radical-plan-cut-military-spending-85889 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/0" alt="" /><p><p>This year the U.S. is expected to spend $700 billion on defense. That's twice what was spent in 2001, and as much as is spent on the rest of the world's militaries combined.</p><p>Defense is the U.S. government's biggest discretionary expenditure, but given the level of the national debt — and the drive to reduce government spending — calls are louder than ever to find cost savings.</p><p>Ret. Army Col. Douglas Macgregor says there are ways to reap major savings when it comes to defense. He recently wrote about the subject in an article titled <a href="http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/26/lean_mean_fighting_machine">"Lean, Mean Fighting Machine"</a> for <em>Foreign Policy</em> magazine. He tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on <em>All Things Considered</em>, that the U.S. simply cannot afford "wars of choice."</p><p>"Emphasis on choice," Macgregor says. "If you look at all of the interventions that we have launched since 1945 — beginning with Vietnam in 1965 and moving forward — none of them have changed the international system at all, and none of them have directly benefited us strategically."</p><p>World War II was the last military event that really had a strategic global impact, he says. "Americans need to understand that these wars of choice, these interventions of choice, have been both unnecessary, counterproductive, strategically self-defeating and infinitely too expensive for what we can actually afford."</p><p><strong>A 'Somewhat Radical' Plan</strong></p><p>Macgregor recommends swift reduction of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, but that's just the beginning. In a plan he acknowledges as "somewhat radical," he proposes a 40 percent reduction of the defense budget in just three years. Forcing the Pentagon to adapt to a drastically smaller budget, he says, will streamline the organization.</p><p>If you look at the Soviets, the Royal Navy, British Army and various other military formations over the last couple centuries, Macgregor says, "what you discover is that most innovation — and the most positive change, an adaptation to reality — occurs not in a flood of money, but in its absence.</p><p>"That's when people have to sit down and come to terms with reality, and realize that they cannot go on, into the future, and do what they've done in the past," he says.</p><p>The nature of warfare has changed, too, he says. With new technology and different players, things can be done in other ways — and more cheaply.</p><p><strong>Prioritizing Spending Cuts</strong></p><p>Most of the current U.S. military effort and strategy is either self-defeating or simply unnecessary, he says. "It's spending that we don't need."</p><p>That call catches ears these days, as Congress and the Obama administration battle over spending cuts. Those cuts are often aimed at domestic programs, but Macgregor says any hope for implementing his proposal requires that the U.S. reconsider its priorities.</p><p>"We have to deliver the services that were promised under Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security," he says. "We cannot honor those obligations ... without reducing defense and reorienting our defense posture to a world that's very different today than the one in which most of these forces were created and invented."</p><p><strong>Profiting From Military Industries</strong></p><p>Military and the private defense industries in America are enormous, providing millions of jobs across a lot of states. That makes many members of Congress even more reluctant to scale back on the military budget — particularly at a time when the nation is looking to create jobs, not cut them. Macgregor says creating prosperity shouldn't depend on military profits.</p><p>"What we have right now are very powerful military bureaucracies tied to the defense industries that want to stay in business." They're larger than we need, he says, but congressional interests see military budgets as a way to sustain prosperity by redistributing the income from those industries.</p><p>"This is an enormous problem," Macgregor says, "but we've got to deal with it, because we can't afford it, and it will ultimately consume us over time."</p><p>Despite these challenges, Macgregor says his proposals do have some support on Capitol Hill. "That's very important," he says, "because I think there are Democrats and Republicans who can agree on these things."</p><p>Like Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Ron Paul (R-TX), Macgregor says — two people on opposite ends of the spectrum in domestic terms but who have come to similar conclusions on foreign and defense policy.</p><p>"And they are not alone," Macgregor adds. "There are many, many, many more. I think we will see more in the future as it becomes clear that we cannot deal with the domestic problem until we deal with the foreign and defense policy problem. That has to come first. Then we can begin talking seriously about what we have to do to restructure the debt." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1304197925?&gn=A+%27Radical%27+Plan+To+Cut+Military+Spending&ev=event2&ch=135246600&h1=The+Federal+Budget+Crunch,Governing,Around+the+Nation,Economy,Politics,Business,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135872891&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110430&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=135246600&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Sat, 30 Apr 2011 15:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-04-30/radical-plan-cut-military-spending-85889 Agency's Warning Heats Up Debt Ceiling Debate http://www.wbez.org/story/business/2011-04-19/agencys-warning-heats-debt-ceiling-debate-85406 <p><p>Congress has finally passed a spending plan for the year, but now another big budget battle looms over raising the debt ceiling — the amount the U.S. is allowed to borrow to pay its bills.</p><p>For months, lawmakers have known that the nation's credit limit, currently $14.3 trillion, would top out this spring. Now, news that major bond rating agency Standard and Poor's has lowered its outlook on U.S. government borrowing puts even more pressure on the coming debate, forcing lawmakers to consider their options as they face yet another high-stakes vote.</p><p>Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor describes the upcoming vote on raising the debt ceiling as a chance for conservatives to get another shot at government spending cuts. And news of Standard and Poor's warning about federal deficits hasn't changed his mind.</p><p>"We in the House hear you loud and clear, S&P," Cantor said while visiting the telecommunications company Qualcomm in San Diego on Monday. "My hope is that wake-up<strong> </strong>call will spur Washington into acting in a serious way, not just to say we're kicking the can and doing things the way we've always done them."</p><p>Action for Republicans means using the debt-limit vote as leverage to get Democrats and the White House to sign on to more spending cuts, or even a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.</p><p>Freshman Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) foreshadowed the current pressure at a Tea Party rally in March.</p><p>"We have been told that we have to act like adults," he told the crowd. "If acting like an adult is going to lead to $1.5 trillion in deficit spending; if acting like an adult is going to lead to $3.6 billion every single day that we are borrowing, I would rather be a child."</p><p>Labrador voted against the recent budget deal that prevented a government shutdown, and if enough conservatives vote against raising the debt limit, GOP leaders would have to look to Democrats for support.</p><p>But Democrats want a so-called "clean" bill on raising the debt limit — that means no attachments and no spending cuts. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) says anything else would be hostage-taking.</p><p>"Should we allow this forum of America paying its bills to become hostage to the competing political points of view and how best to get our fiscal house in order?" Welch says.</p><p>In fact, some Democrats did just that when they voted against raising the debt limit in 2006 to protest the policies of the Bush administration. This time, more than 100 Democrats have signed on to a letter by Welch that calls for a clean bill. Welch says there are other venues for spending cuts.</p><p>"There [are] going to be 12 appropriations bills; there is going to be another election," Welch says. "So there's a time and place, but if we inject that into this question of whether<strong> </strong>we actually honor our obligation to pay our bills, we're going to do real damage to the American economy."</p><p>Meanwhile, a bipartisan bill in the Senate is taking another approach. Tennessee Republican Bob Corker and Democrat Claire McCaskill have introduced legislation that would cap government spending starting in 2013. Corker says it purposely doesn't say how to do it, just that it be done.</p><p>"Let's first agree where we're going because we tend to divide up very, very quickly when we jump first to the solution," he says. "So it's best for everyone to first agree what is an appropriate spending level."</p><p>If the Corker-McCaskill deal doesn't catch on, Corker says that unless there is some evidence from lawmakers that Washington will change its free-spending ways, he, too, will vote against raising the debt limit. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1303249030?&gn=Agency%27s+Warning+Heats+Up+Debt+Ceiling+Debate&ev=event2&ch=135246600&h1=The+Federal+Budget+Crunch,Governing,Economy,Politics,Business,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135546561&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110419&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=135246600&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 19 Apr 2011 16:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/business/2011-04-19/agencys-warning-heats-debt-ceiling-debate-85406 House Gears Up For Another Budget Showdown http://www.wbez.org/story/business/2011-04-15/house-gears-another-budget-showdown-85242 <p><p>House Republicans on Friday were expected to fire another broadside in the debate over deficits, voting on a spending blueprint that calls for dramatically revamping Medicaid and Medicare to pare trillions of dollars over the next decade.</p><p>The GOP's budget framework for the next fiscal year, beginning Oct. 1, would purportedly cut nearly $6 trillion in spending over 10 years, close tax loopholes and reduce tax rates for corporations and the wealthy.</p><p>The vote on the plan put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, comes a day after Congress passed legislation that funds the government through the remainder of fiscal 2011 and wrings an estimated $38.5 billion in savings from the budget.</p><p>The bitter fight over those cuts ground on until a few hours before a midnight deadline last Friday that would have triggered a partial shutdown of the government.</p><p>Ryan's plan stands little chance as written of even reaching a vote in the Senate, where Democrats still hold the majority. President Obama is widely expected to veto the measure even if it did pass.</p><p>Instead, it is likely to serve as an opening salvo in the debate over America's fiscal future and the 2012 election, with GOP lawmakers hoping to shore up support from the conservative Tea Party movement.</p><p>But the plan to fundamentally reshape the government's role in health care for the elderly and the poor is politically risky. In a Pew Research Center poll conducted last month, 65 percent of respondents said they oppose changes to Social Security and Medicare to reduce the deficit.</p><p>Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and defense spending account for about 80 percent of the federal budget, according to The Associated Press.</p><p>Ryan's nonbinding framework for future legislation would make stiff cuts to Medicaid, the medical insurance program for the poor and disabled, and transform it into a grant program run by the states. It calls for transforming Medicare into a system under which the government provides future retirees with vouchers to buy private insurance coverage.</p><p>People now 55 and older would stay in the current system, but younger people would receive the insurance subsidies. Economists say those vouchers would lose value over time because they would not keep pace with fast-rising medical costs.</p><p>Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) praised Ryan's proposal.</p><p>"Paul Ryan calls this plan the path to prosperity," he said. "I call it leadership. It's what our country has been thirsting for."</p><p>But President Obama said earlier this week that Ryan's proposal would slash health care coverage to 50 million Americans, including grandparents needing nursing home care, children with autism and kids "with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care.</p><p>"These are the Americans we'd be telling to fend for themselves," Obama said in a speech at George Washington University in which he laid out his own budget proposal. He said his plan would cut the federal deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years by eliminating health care fraud, raising taxes on the wealthy and paring defense spending.</p><p>Rep. Louise Slaughter, a New York Democrat, said the Ryan proposal "will end Medicare and cost-shift to seniors $6,000 more a year."</p><p>"Why are they doing that? Well, they get to pay for more tax breaks for big oil and millionaires who are untouched," she said.</p><p>And there's another huge spending fight looming on the horizon in May, when the U.S. Treasury is expected to hit its $14.3 trillion borrowing cap. That upper limit on borrowing has been increased with little fanfare 10 times in the past decade. But House Republicans are threatening to vote no this time unless the debt limit increase also includes more cuts to spending.</p><p>House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) predicted another bruising fight.</p><p>Obama is "asking us to raise the debt limit without addressing the real problem with spending cuts and reforms," Boehner said. "This will not happen. And this will not pass the U.S. House."</p><p><em>NPR's David Welna contributed to this report, which also contains material from The Associated Press.</em> Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1302884833?&gn=House+Gears+Up+For+Another+Budget+Showdown&ev=event2&ch=135246600&h1=The+Federal+Budget+Crunch,Economy,Politics,Business,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135439169&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110415&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=135246600&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Fri, 15 Apr 2011 10:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/business/2011-04-15/house-gears-another-budget-showdown-85242 Taxes, Entitlements: Sticking Points In Deficit Debate http://www.wbez.org/story/economy/2011-04-13/taxes-entitlements-sticking-points-deficit-debate-85166 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/0" alt="" /><p><p>The budget plans put forward by President Obama and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) both set a goal of about $4 trillion in deficit reduction, but Ryan would get his in 10 years — two years sooner than the president.</p><p>The biggest differences between the two plans are their treatment of taxes, and Medicare and Medicaid. Ryan would dramatically transform the two government health care programs: Medicaid would become a block grant controlled by the states; Medicare would become a voucher program starting in 2022. On taxes, Ryan would continue the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans set to expire at the end of next year. Obama would let them expire.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/04/13/135382432/obama-plan-aims-for-4-trillion-in-deficit-cuts">As he unveiled his plan Wednesday,</a> Obama criticized <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/04/10/135275350/paul-ryans-2012-budget-good-bad-and-ugly">Ryan's proposal</a> for not keeping America's promise to care for its senior citizens.</p><p>"It says that 10 years from now, if you're a 65-year-old who's eligible for Medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today."</p><p>Yet, said the president, Ryan believes that at the same time, "we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy."</p><p>Republicans quickly rejected the idea of any increase in taxes to solve the deficit problem.</p><p>Maya MacGuineas, who heads the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget at the New America Foundation, says the president's proposal shows he's finally seriously engaging in the deficit discussion. But, she says, the president's plan is short on specifics and should do more to reduce deficits.</p><p>"If you look at what Congressman Ryan did, he put out a huge, bold plan, very detailed and very courageous, because it's hard. You can see he's going to get beaten up for it," she said. "The president wasn't as courageous in what he laid out there, but what he did was put out something that's doable."</p><p>To give his plan some teeth, the president proposed a failsafe trigger: It would force across-the-board cuts if the nation's debt-to-GDP ratio isn't declining toward the end of the decade.</p><p>Robert Greenstein of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive think tank, takes issue with describing Ryan's proposal as courageous.</p><p>"I don't think it's very courageous to say we're going to really eviscerate programs from the weakest people in the society who don't have political clout and have no lobbyists on K Street."</p><p>Greenstein points to deep cuts in the food stamp program in Ryan's plan. He also says the Republican's proposal for block-granting Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor, is likely to lead to deep cuts in the program by many states.</p><p>Brian Riedl of the conservative Heritage Foundation sees it differently.</p><p>"Because it gives governors flexibility to innovate and save costs by block-granting the program," he said. "And so I think you might see a Washington meddling less in the innovative ideas that governors have."</p><p>Over the long term, Ryan's plan offers a vision of a much smaller government with dramatically different health care programs, says MacGuineas. Meanwhile, the president sees the government providing most of the services it currently does, only more efficiently. That may not be visionary, she says, but "I think what he's talking about is a really helpful starting point for moving this discussion forward."</p><p>And with the nation reaching its debt limit soon, a quick deal on curbing the deficit is critical. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1302765431?&gn=Taxes%2C+Entitlements%3A+Sticking+Points+In+Deficit+Debate&ev=event2&ch=135246600&h1=The+Federal+Budget+Crunch,Governing,Economy,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135392773&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110414&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=135246600&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Wed, 13 Apr 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/economy/2011-04-13/taxes-entitlements-sticking-points-deficit-debate-85166 Lawmakers Discover What's In Spending Deal http://www.wbez.org/story/governing/2011-04-13/lawmakers-discover-whats-spending-deal-85167 <p><p>The deal congressional leaders struck last Friday funding the federal government for 24 weeks and cutting $38 billion in spending is being voted on Thursday in the House and possibly the Senate.</p><p>While the measure does chop spending, a few other things in it that have little to do with spending also get chopped, as lawmakers have been discovering.</p><p>Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) says he was "stunned" to find that a provision he managed to include in the new health care law last year — an option providing employer-paid vouchers to people who can't afford their workplace insurance and who don't qualify for subsidies — is repealed in the budget deal.</p><p>Wyden says eliminating the vouchers saves no federal money, and he suspects an industry group lobbied for the repeal.</p><p>"It's clear that the Business Roundtable pulled out all the stops to kill this," he says.</p><p>The Business Roundtable is an association of top executives from some of the nation's largest corporations. Spokeswoman Johanna Schneider says she believes the group did not work to get the voucher repeal included in the spending bill.</p><p>"We do not support the [vouchers], and the primary reason is we genuinely believe that it would change the risk pools for those covered employees," she says. "But that does not equal, nor did it equal, that we lobbied to have it removed."</p><p>Wyden says he may end up voting against the budget deal because he "can't conceive of voting for this unless I'm told by the White House and congressional leadership that there's going to be corrective action."</p><p>In another part of the budget measure, gray wolves in the Rocky Mountain northwest, which were reintroduced to the Northwest in mid-1990s, are taken off the list of endangered species.</p><p>Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) calls the measure "an opportunity to fix a problem."</p><p>He acknowledges having pushed to have gray wolves removed from the protected list.</p><p>"We're dealing with a species that is fully recovered," he says. "We're dealing with a species that right now is having some very dramatic impacts on domestic livestock and wildlife. They need to be managed."</p><p>But Rodger <strong>Schlickeisen</strong>, president of Defenders of Wildlife, says managing means killing gray wolves, and he doesn't believe Congress should be making that call.</p><p>"This is the first time in all of the history of the Endangered Species Act that Congress has ever legislated to remove protection of a species," he says. "We are, of course, extremely worried that this could represent some kind of a precedent. The Endangered Species Act could face further onslaught in coming months and coming years."</p><p>So Congress will be voting Thursday on the fate of more than 1,600 gray wolves in the northwest — as well as the future of health insurance vouchers for possibly hundreds of thousands of workers — in a bill aimed at keeping the government open and cutting the deficit. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1302765431?&gn=Lawmakers+Discover+What%27s+In+Spending+Deal&ev=event2&ch=135246600&h1=The+Federal+Budget+Crunch,Governing,Your+Money,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135389295&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110414&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=135246600&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Wed, 13 Apr 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/governing/2011-04-13/lawmakers-discover-whats-spending-deal-85167 In Debt Limit Debate, No Big Push From Big Business http://www.wbez.org/story/business/2011-04-13/debt-limit-debate-no-big-push-big-business-85160 <p><p>The U.S. Treasury will officially hit its credit limit around May 16 for the 10th time in 10 years. If House Republicans prolong the fight over raising the debt ceiling past that date, government officials and Wall Street investors agree that it would cause financial chaos.</p><p>"This chatter about not meeting our obligations, I just don't understand it," JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said late last month during an event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dimon is one of the few business leaders who's been outspoken on the issue.</p><p>"It's a moral obligation to ourselves and anyone who owns U.S. debt," he said. "They should know the United States is good for its money, period."</p><p>Martin Regalia, chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, agrees that there's no other option but to raise the debt limit. The Chamber is lobbying Congress and educating lawmakers about what it could mean if that doesn't happen: higher interest rates, financial uncertainty and damage to the nation's fragile economy.</p><p>Regalia says the ramifications of a default — or even a close call — can be an eye-opener for lawmakers. "It's no reflection on them that they don't fully understand the nuances of a budget process that I don't think anyone fully understands."</p><p><strong>Political Leverage</strong></p><p>But it's not just recently elected Tea Party Republicans who want to push the debt limit envelope. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told CNN on Wednesday that promoting possible additions to the debt ceiling bill are aimed at controlling federal spending.</p><p>"There are all kinds of different measures that are being considered here on Capitol Hill to make sure we put the brakes on spending."</p><p>And on Tuesday, Cantor unveiled a new twist in strategy: He said House Republicans intend to stage the debate after the official deadline of May 16. That's a gray area — several weeks in which Treasury says it can jury-rig techniques for paying the bills.</p><p>Cantor sees more political leverage there, while financial analysts predict that's when fear will start driving up interest rates.</p><p>But as much as business lobbyists talk about the fear of uncertainty, there's little sense of urgency on this one. The Financial Services Roundtable supports a higher debt ceiling, but it isn't even taking the basic step of sending lawmakers a letter about it. The Business Roundtable hasn't gotten to the issue yet, a spokesman said.</p><p>At the National Federation of Independent Business, a powerful lobbying voice for small business, a spokesman said they are not actively involved in the debt limit issue.</p><p>To Steve Bell of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, that doesn't make sense. "I've gotta tell you that, especially for smaller business, any increase in interest rates — or anybody who gets nervous in the bond market and starts to ask for higher rates to buy our debt — that's really going to hurt lending."</p><p>Bell says business as a whole is taking a big risk by not pressing Congress to fix the debt limit.</p><p>"I find it a mystery," he says. "Perhaps they're afraid of offending the majority in the House or the Senate. Perhaps they figure [the debt limit bill is] going to pass no matter what, so they're not going to get involved to protect themselves from any unintended consequence." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1302734826?&gn=In+Debt+Limit+Debate%2C+No+Big+Push+From+Big+Business&ev=event2&ch=135246600&h1=The+Federal+Budget+Crunch,Business,U.S.&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135386539&c7=1006&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1006&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110413&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=135246600&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Wed, 13 Apr 2011 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/business/2011-04-13/debt-limit-debate-no-big-push-big-business-85160 Obama Plan Aims For $4 Trillion In Deficit Cuts http://www.wbez.org/story/economy/2011-04-13/obama-plan-aims-4-trillion-deficit-cuts-85147 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/0" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama, under increasing pressure to address the nation's burgeoning debt, on Wednesday laid out a sweeping vision to cut government deficits by more than $4 trillion in 12 years through tax increases and spending cuts phased in over time.</p><p>In a speech at George Washington University in the nation's capital, Obama melded his progressive campaign rhetoric with presidential policy, rejecting Republican plans to remake Medicare and Medicare and proposing a mechanism that would trigger across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases if Congress fails to meet deficit-reduction targets.</p><p>And he said he's asked Vice President Joe Biden to meet with congressional leaders to come up with a bipartisan deficit-reduction plan by June, about the time Congress will be asked to raise the government's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.</p><p>"I know there are Republicans and Democrats in Congress who want to see a balanced approach to deficit reduction," Obama said.</p><p>Obama's proposals hewed closely, but not perfectly, with recommendations made months ago by his bipartisan <a href="http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/TheMomentofTruth12_1_2010.pdf">deficit reduction commission</a> but never acted on.</p><p>And he took direct aim at <a href="http://budget.house.gov/fy2012budget/">a plan by House Republicans</a> that would fundamentally change the way the nation provides health care coverage to its elderly and poor citizens, drawing on history to make a case for committing to common cause for common good.</p><p>"More than citizens of any other country, we are rugged individualists, a self-reliant people with a healthy skepticism of too much government," he said.</p><p>"But there has always been another thread running throughout our history — a belief that we are all connected; and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation."</p><p>Those include, he said, education, a strong military, public schools, scientific research, and transportation infrastructure — but also a safety net for the most vulnerable.</p><p>"We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff, may strike any one of us," he said. "'There but for the grace of God go I,' we say to ourselves." And so, he said, Americans contribute to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.</p><p>"We are a better country," Obama said, "because of these commitments."</p><p><strong>Deficit Busters</strong></p><p>But it's those entitlement programs that are the drivers of the deficit, particularly at a time when the baby boom generation has begun to retire. Two-thirds of the nation's budget, Obama noted, is spent on entitlement programs and national security.</p><p>Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's recent budget blueprint calls for more than $6.2 trillion in spending cuts — many unspecified — over the next decade. Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee, has proposed repealing last year's health care overhaul legislation, turning Medicare into a voucher program, and Medicaid into a fixed block grant. Ryan also wants to cut the taxes rate for high earners and corporations.</p><p>The GOP-controlled House is expected to take up Ryan's proposal on Friday.</p><p>And it provided a reliable foil for Obama, who characterized the Wisconsin Republican's proposal as the wrong vision for the country.</p><p>Ryan's plan contains "worthy goals," the president said, in his prepared remarks. "But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we've known throughout most of our history."</p><p>The White House estimates that up to 50 million Americans would lose their health insurance under the Ryan plan, and others would pay thousands more for coverage.</p><p>Obama sought to characterize his own framework as an effort to ensure that, in retirement, all Americans can still expect economic dignity and reliable health care.</p><p><strong>A Skeptical Public</strong></p><p>The president, like every other politician, also knows how to read polls. And the results of recent surveys also have many Republicans stepping back from Ryan's proposal: A Gallup poll released this week, for example, shows that only 13 percent of all adults surveyed said they support a complete overhaul of Medicare.</p><p>Thirty-four percent say they support minor changes, but 27 percent — including 33 percent of Republicans surveyed — suggested that government should not try to control the program's cost.</p><p>"I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry," Obama said, "with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs."</p><p>"We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations," he said.</p><p>The White House says it expects to maintain Medicare and Medicaid programs as is, but predicts it can find savings of $480 billion in those programs by 2023, and another $1 trillion over the following decade.</p><p>The savings, according to the administration, will come from "reducing waste, increasing accountability, and improving the quality of care."</p><p>It's the "bending the cost curve" argument that the administration included in its pitch for last year's health overhaul law, only at a more rapid pace, White House officials say.</p><p>On taxes, the president's framework assumes repeal of the Bush-era tax cuts for high earners, which in December were extended through 2012. The White House framework also anticipates about $1 trillion in additional tax revenue by eliminating tax carve outs and deductions. Those include the current mortgage interest deduction and deductions for charitable contributions.</p><p>Obama offered no specifics on Social Security; neither does the House Republican plan.</p><p><strong>A Decade Of Free Spending</strong></p><p>Though the president took pains to characterize the current deficit issue as a bipartisan problem, he also noted that "America's finances were in great shape by the year 2000." That coincided with the end of Democratic President Bill Clinton's two terms in the White House.</p><p>"We went from deficit to surplus," he said. "America was actually on track to becoming completely debt-free, and we were prepared for the retirement of the baby boomers."</p><p>But a decade of war, he said, profligate spending, an expensive drug prescription program, and tax cuts "that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country" have landed the nation in the fix it's in.</p><p>Though Obama has been criticized — inside the Beltway, anyway — for waiting too long to address the deficit, his plan appeared to balance the recommendations of the bipartisan commission and political reality. And Obama's plan provided some comfort to his progressive base, which has been calling on the president to defend programs for the nation's neediest and most vulnerable.</p><p>The Obama "framework" now joins the Ryan plan and the bipartisan commission report in the mix of proposals to address the deficit. A bipartisan group of six senators is working on another. And by June, if Biden has anything to say about it, there may be a fifth.</p><p>So, there is no lack of plans; it's the action part that still remains uncertain. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1302723429?&gn=Obama+Plan+Aims+For+%244+Trillion+In+Deficit+Cuts&ev=event2&ch=135246600&h1=The+Federal+Budget+Crunch,Governing,Economy,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135382432&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110413&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=135246600&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Wed, 13 Apr 2011 13:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/economy/2011-04-13/obama-plan-aims-4-trillion-deficit-cuts-85147 Deficit Forces Question: What Is Government's Role? http://www.wbez.org/story/economy/2011-04-12/deficit-forces-question-what-governments-role-85095 <p><p>No one is expecting a bipartisan consensus any time soon over what to do about the nation's exploding deficit, and when to do it. Far from it.</p><p>But what many government watchers agree has been unfolding in Washington is a historic and potentially authentic conversation over federal spending, taxes, and the role of government in the lives of Americans — from family planning clinics to Social Security benefits.</p><p>"People used to say there's not a dime's worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans when it came to government spending," says Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center. "Now you are seeing a fundamental difference in the view of government between the two parties — a contrast we haven't had probably since the 1920s."</p><p>President Obama will enter the partisan fray on Wednesday afternoon, with a much-anticipated speech at George Washington University in which he is expected to lay out his plan for tackling the deficit with a mix of spending cuts, and tax increases on high earners. Earlier in the day, the president is scheduled to meet at the White House with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to discuss his fiscal plans.</p><p>The address, seen as a response to GOP Rep. Paul Ryan's recent <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/04/10/135275350/paul-ryans-2012-budget-good-bad-and-">budget blueprint</a>, which attempts to make the case for tax cuts for the wealthy, will come two months after the president released his 2012 spending proposal. That White House plan has been widely viewed as a government-as-usual document with little attention to the nation's burgeoning obligations.</p><p>Obama's budget "envisioned a government hardly different than the one we have had for decades," Gleckman says.</p><p>Ryan has called for more than $6.2 trillion in cuts, many unspecified, over the next decade, repeal of last year's health care overhaul legislation, and a wholesale re-making of Medicare and Medicaid funding and eligibility tests.</p><p>His plan has no chance of surviving Senate scrutiny or the president's veto pen, but it — and Tea Party movement pressure — has been the catalyst for what appears to be a broad, no-holds-barred examination of government in America in 2011.</p><p>Meanwhile, there are also efforts underway in the Senate by the so-called bipartisan "Gang of Six" senators working on plan that aims to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years.</p><p>"This is a defining time for our nation," says Alison Acosta Fraser, an economic policy expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "We are really at a crossroads, and it's time for a conversation."</p><p><strong>Start It Up</strong></p><p>The president's appearance at George Washington University will come just days after Congress approved a stopgap agreement that avoided a government shutdown, and as rhetoric sharpens over a looming vote on raising the government's current <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/04/12/135336968/failure-to-hike-debt-limit-would-have-consequences">$14.3 trillion debt ceiling</a>.</p><p>The ceiling is the maximum amount the U.S. can borrow to cover its obligations. Without an increase, the government could ultimately default on its Treasury debt — something it has never done, and which no one expects to happen.</p><p>However, Republican leaders have said that in exchange for votes to raise the ceiling, they will be expecting White House concessions on program and spending cuts.</p><p>The battle will be over what programs and how much.</p><p>In his speech, Obama is expected to draw on a report issued in December by a bipartisan deficit reduction commission he established. The <a href="http://www.npr.org/2010/12/03/131784919/deficit-plan-vote-falls-short-of-desired-support">commission's plan</a>, which failed to get enough support to move it to Congress, calls for cuts in military spending, raising the Social Security benefits retirement age, and increasing tax revenue by cutting provisions like the one allowing deductions for mortgage interest payments.</p><p><strong>What Ryan Wants</strong></p><p>Gleckman credits the Tea Party movement with having a "remarkable influence" in focusing debate on the deficit.</p><p>And Fraser is among those who credit Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman and chairman of the House budget committee, with forcing the Capitol Hill conversation — whether or not you agree with his aims.</p><p>"How big do we want government to be? I don't want it to be big," Fraser says. "How high do we want taxes? I don't want them high.</p><p>"Paul Ryan really jump-started that discussion — his budget would put the nation on a fundamentally different course," she says, "and one that I, as a conservative, welcome and embrace."</p><p>Ryan's plan has been excoriated by those who see it as an assault on the poor, elderly, and sick, and a sop to the wealthy.</p><p>At the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan organization dedicated to deficit reduction, executive director Robert Bixby notes that under Ryan's budget, entitlement programs actually eat up more of the federal budget than they would under Obama's original 2012 plan.</p><p>Why? Because Ryan's proposal "cuts so much from everything else," <a href="http://www.concordcoalition.org/tabulation/lets-look-how-we-spend-not-just-how-much">Bixby writes</a> in the coalition's blog.</p><p>"Clearly, there is waste in these other programs and no serious deficit reduction plan can exempt them from scrutiny," he says of domestic programs.</p><p>"But can we really expect to maintain ourselves as the dominant world power," he asks, "while investing in our domestic economy if retirement income and health care programs take up two-thirds to three-quarters of all federal dollars?"</p><p>In tackling the deficit, Ryan has not proposed any new revenue. In fact, he has called for cutting taxes on corporations and the nation's wealthiest individuals.</p><p>Specifically, Ryan proposes repeal of last year's health care legislation. He'd consolidate the current six tax brackets, and lower the tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent on high-income earners and corporations.</p><p>And he would turn Medicare into a voucher program by 2022, ending direct government reimbursements to medical care providers and offering instead a set government subsidy to recipients.</p><p>Medicaid, the program for poor Americans, would, under the Ryan plan, become a flat block grant to states — indexed for inflation and population growth, but not for medical costs.</p><p>He provides no plan for addressing the costs of Social Security, which analysts say should remain solvent through 2037.</p><p>"In the Ryan plan, his solution to the deficit is to cut benefits programs for the elderly and poor, and to cut taxes for very rich people," says Gleckman, of the liberal-leaning Tax Policy Center. "Is that going to fix the deficit? We don't know."</p><p>Though few details of the president's deficit-reducing proposal have yet emerged, administration officials have said Obama favors a scalpel over a "machete." He is expected to proposed reductions in Medicaid and Medicare spending, as well as in military spending.</p><p>Whether the president goes beyond promoting repeal of the Bush-era tax cuts for couples earning more than $250,000 is anyone's guess.</p><p><strong>No Choice</strong></p><p>Fraser, of the Heritage Foundation, says she and others — including those at the Concord Coalition, with whom she has worked — believe that Americans are ready for an "adult conversation."</p><p>"There's a lot of noise out there, but they're ready to make tough choices if you give them straight talk," she said.</p><p>Doing nothing, she said, is not a choice.</p><p>But with presidential election politics already playing out (some potential GOP candidates have already distanced themselves from some of Ryan's proposals), Obama is expected to walk a middle line on Wednesday.</p><p>He'll have to make clear that he has heard Americans' concerns about the deficit as a serious long-term problem that has to be fixed.</p><p>There will likely be a call to reduce benefits for some elderly, and raising taxes on high earners.</p><p>But no one expects a call to revolution a la Ryan.</p><p>"I just hope he doesn't call for another commission," Gleckman says. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1302641538?&gn=Deficit+Forces+Question%3A+What+Is+Government%27s+Role%3F&ev=event2&ch=135246600&h1=The+Federal+Budget+Crunch,Economy,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135352906&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110412&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=135246600&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 12 Apr 2011 15:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/economy/2011-04-12/deficit-forces-question-what-governments-role-85095 Paul Ryan's 2012 Budget: Good, Bad AND Ugly? http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/2011-04-10/paul-ryans-2012-budget-good-bad-and-ugly-84996 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-10/ap110405131183.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Even in a week dominated by news about this year's federal budget, Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan still managed to cause a stir with his budget proposal for next year.</p><p>His proposed 2012 budget been called everything from brave to draconian for its willingness to discuss entitlement cuts and, well, its willingness to discuss entitlement cuts.</p><p>Reason.com editor Nick Gillespie has added up what he calls the good, bad and ugly of Ryan's plan, and tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer the congressman has set the tone for next year's budget debate.</p><p><strong>The Good, According To Gillespie</strong></p><p>For starters, Gillespie says, Ryan's plan tackles entitlement spending by proposing block grants for Medicaid. That would essentially give states a yearly allowance to spend on health care for the poor.</p><p>"The idea is that state governments and the local agencies that hand out Medicaid will be more responsive to the people who are there — as well as more responsible, because they know they're on the hook if, in fact, they run out of money or they start giving people really bad care," Gillespie says.</p><p>Gillespie also calls Ryan's proposal for lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent a good thing, but says Ryan lacks specifics on tax reform beyond that number.</p><p>Plus, the Ryan plan spends less money over the next 10 years than President Obama's budget. Gillespie says that restraint at least acknowledges significant spending increases over the last 10 years.</p><p>"He says, 'Let's slow it down a little. But he doesn't slow it down far enough, and he doesn't slow it down fast enough."</p><p><strong>What Gillespie Sees As Bad</strong></p><p>There's one place Ryan wouldn't make cuts, and that's defense.</p><p>"Even with the expected wind-down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," Gillespie says, "he actually increases defense spending over the next 10 years."</p><p>That increase, Gillespie says, would lock in what were already significant increases in defense spending over the past decade.</p><p>He also says Ryan's plan contains a few empty boasts, such as a claim to lower unemployment to 2.8 percent by 2021 — a rate not seen since the World War II. Those claims were based on numbers from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and Gillespie says Ryan has since backtracked on those statistics.</p><p>"Most peoples' budget proposals are filled with these kind of bizarre fantasies," he says. "Nobody's buying them, so I don't know why people keep trying to sell them."</p><p><strong>And This, Gillespie Says, Is Ugly</strong></p><p>There are budget elements that Gillespie says Ryan just punts on. He offers no specifics on Social Security reform, for example.</p><p>In the end, Ryan's proposal actually increases spending 30 percent over the next decade, Gillespie says.</p><p>"That is not austerity, and it doesn't bring us near a balanced budget," he says. And the plan doesn't offer a balanced budget until 2063, which Gillespie calls "tantamount to giving up."</p><p>But then, "budgets are aspirational," Gillespie says. "They're political documents," and not always realistic. At the very least, he says, Ryan's plan may set the scope of the conversation about spending cuts.</p><p>"Ryan's spending plan should at best represent the ceiling of what is considered worthy of discussion," Gillespie says. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1302464233?&gn=Paul+Ryan%27s+2012+Budget%3A+Good%2C+Bad+AND+Ugly%3F&ev=event2&ch=135246600&h1=The+Federal+Budget+Crunch,Around+the+Nation,Politics,U.S.,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135275350&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110410&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=135246600&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Sun, 10 Apr 2011 13:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/2011-04-10/paul-ryans-2012-budget-good-bad-and-ugly-84996 Reaction To Budget Deal Is Mixed; More Fights Loom http://www.wbez.org/story/governing/2011-04-09/reaction-budget-deal-mixed-more-fights-loom-84983 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-09/lincoln.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Barack Obama signed a short-term continuing resolution spending bill that will pay for the federal government to continue operating through Friday. The measure is the first piece of a bipartisan agreement to cut billions in spending and avoid the first government shutdown in 15 years.</p><p>Obama signed the temporary extension in private Saturday; the White House announced it with a news release.</p><p>The measure will keep the federal government running long enough for Congress to hold a vote later this coming week on the budget deal reached hours before Friday's midnight deadline by Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).</p><p>If approved, the budget compromise would keep the government open through the remaining six months in the 2011 budget year, while cutting $38 billion in federal spending.</p><p><strong>Pushing For Further Cuts</strong></p><p>Boehner has been credited with a victory for getting Democrats in Congress and the White House to agree to more cuts than they had initially proposed. Still, some Republicans think the deal falls short of their goals.</p><p>Freshman Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), who was elected with support from the Tea Party, <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/04/09/135266043/a-tea-party-backed-representative-in-the-budget-battle">tells NPR's Scott Simon</a> that he's not sure he'll vote to approve the full spending bill.</p><p>Saying that the bill doesn't go far enough to reduce federal spending, Huizenga said, "We had outpatient surgery last night. What we need is a heart transplant. We have got to get more serious about this."</p><p>Huizenga said that he voted for the short-term resolution for two reasons.</p><p>"One, because it pays our troops," he said. "I think it's absolutely an abomination that our troops are having any doubt in their mind" about whether they would be paid.</p><p>The other reason for approving the measure, Huizenga said, is to give both him and the American public time to review the larger legislation.</p><p><strong>The Democratic Reaction</strong></p><p>The budget compromise was hailed by Reid for containing a "historic amount of cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year." Still, not all Democrats are giving their full support to the deal.</p><p>Early Saturday, Rep. George Miller (D-CA) <a href="http://georgemiller.house.gov/2011/04/miller-statement-on-budget-agreement.shtml">released a statement</a> saying, "The American people have been told the agreement contains both 'historic' and 'painful' cuts. The question will be painful for whom."</p><p>And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she and her colleagues "look forward to reviewing the components of the final funding measure" to determine how it will affect the middle class, <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748704503104576250541381308346.html">according to <em>The Wall Street Journal</em></a>.</p><p>In his weekly radio address Saturday, Obama called the budget deal "good news for the American people."</p><p>The president said that after the budget issue is resolved, "it's my sincere hope that we can continue to come together as we face the many difficult challenges that lie ahead."</p><p><strong>Coming Next: Debt Limit, And 2012</strong></p><p>Two of those challenges will demand Washington's attention in the coming months. The U.S. Treasury has told Congress it must vote to raise the debt limit by this summer — Secretary Tim Geithner says the federal government will hit its limit on borrowing by May 16.</p><p>And soon, Congress will turn to the 2012 budget.</p><p>Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says the budget compromise is relatively small change compared to the fights ahead.</p><p>While the current reductions deal with numbers in the billions, McConnell said, "Once we get through this process, by the end of next week, we will move on to a much larger discussion about how we save trillions."</p><p>Republicans say they hope to use the debt limit issue to force Obama to accept their measures to reduce the deficit.</p><p>Of those upcoming debates, fiscal policy expert J.D. Foster of the conservative Heritage Foundation <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/04/09/135251034/the-shutdown-matchup-a-preview-of-bouts-to-come">tells NPR's Liz Halloran</a>, "The middleweight fight is going to be over the 2012 budget resolution. And the heavyweight match will be over the debt limit."</p><p><em>NPR's Ari Shapiro contributed to this report, which contains material from The Associated Press.</em> Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1302381131?&gn=Reaction+To+Budget+Deal+Is+Mixed%3B+More+Fights+Loom&ev=event2&ch=135246600&h1=The+Federal+Budget+Crunch,News+iPad,Governing,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135271474&c7=1014&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1014&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110409&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=135246600&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Sat, 09 Apr 2011 14:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/governing/2011-04-09/reaction-budget-deal-mixed-more-fights-loom-84983