Debt & Taxes
Sen Dems Will Pitch Sequester Deal This Week
Monday, February 11, 2013 - 5:21pm
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Senate Democrats are planning to offer up a deal Thursday to replace the $85 billion in automatic, sequester cuts slated to slash the federal budget on March 1., with a mixture of tax increases and spending cuts, The Hill reports. But don’t count on such a deal getting past the Republican-controlled House, where GOP leadership has already threatened to shut down any proposal that includes raising taxes. -  Read more at The Hill

OBAMA IS DONE WITH DEFICIT REDUCTION …. If Congress can agree on a deal to replace the sequester cuts, the president will have reached his debt reduction goals, The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery reports. “Over the last few years, Democrats and Republicans have come together and cut our deficit [over the next decade] by more than $2.5 trillion through a balanced mix of spending cuts and higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans. That’s more than halfway towards the $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists and elected officials from both parties say we need to stabilize our debt,” Obama said during his weekend radio address.  -  Read more at Washington Post

…BUT THE GOP ISN’T    Senate Republicans are preparing to launch a fiscal counteroffensive later this week by reintroducing a balanced-budget amendment, the National Review reports. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and minority whip John Cornyn (R., Texas) are planning to unveil a bill Thursday with unanimous Republican support that would cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP. It would also require any bill with tax increases to pass with a supermajority.  -  Read more at National Review

BUTCHERING THE MEAT INDUSTRY   If Congress allows the sequester cuts to take effect on March 1., meat inspectors will be furloughed for two weeks, causing the meat industry to shut down, the Department of Agriculture warned Friday. But it may not really matter. An article last October in Bloomberg made it clear that America’s food supply is riddled with unsafe contaminants that inspectors never catch.  – Read the report at Bloomberg

STATE LAWMAKER FLOATS A SNEAKER EXCISE TAX      We’ve all heard of excise taxes on things like cigarettes, tanning, soda and candy, but an Illinois state lawmaker is proposing a new excise tax on sneakers. The Illinois bill would impose a 25-cent tax on any purchase of athletic shoes. While some excise taxes, nicknamed “sin” taxes are meant to counter health or social costs, revenue from the sneaker tax would go toward programs by YouthBuild USA, a non-profit organization that provides job training to unemployed youth. Let’s just hope it doesn’t curb exercise.  -  Read more at Forbes

Washington Correspondent Brianna Ehley, based in D.C., covers Congress, government agencies and spending issues, health care, and tax and economic policy for The Fiscal Times.