A Possible Way Out of Furloughs

A Possible Way Out of Furloughs

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A GOP lawmaker thinks he has a way to  spare federal government employees from sequestration-induced furloughs by helping agencies find different ways to absorb the across-the-board  spending cuts.

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, introduced a bill this week ordering  the Office of Management and Budget to prepare a  report on how departments and agencies could shift funding around to avoid having to order their employees to take unpaid days off in the coming months.  A few agencies including  the Government Accountability Office and Small Business Administration already  have figured out how to avoid furloughs, by reducing costs in other areas like IT expenditures and  travel as The Fiscal Times’ reported last week   Meanwhile, at least a dozen departments have already issued furlough notices to their employees.   -  Read more at GovExec

HOUSEHOLD WEALTH  HIGHEST SINCE 2007     The net worth of American families rose to $66 trillion at the end of 2012, the highest level recorded since the beginning of the Great Recession, the Fed’s quarterly “Flow of Funds” report released today shows. The value of corporate equities and mutual funds owned by households also rose over $150 billion, and the value of real estate owned by households ticked up by nearly $450 billion.  -  Read more at The Wall Street Journal

IT WAS JUST DINNER   As shocking as this may seem, the president’s dinner with a dozen GOP senator’s last night didn’t magically resolve partisan gridlock in Washington.  The Fiscal Times’ Josh Boak reports that “the meal at the swanky Jefferson Hotel in Washington ended with a thumbs up from Arizona’s John McCain and Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., also described the dinner as “candid,” “very cordial” and “substantive.”  But during  a Thursday afternoon speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Toomey described what’s ahead in quasi-militaristic terms.”  -   Read more at The Fiscal Times

HERE WE GO AGAIN: DEBT CEILING EDITION    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, appears to be preparing for another brutal debt ceiling showdown. On Thursday, he told reporters he will continue insisting that the next extension of the Treasury’s borrowing authority be accompanied by matching spending cuts, signaling he’s preparing (again) to use the debt limit as leverage to achieve more savings. The Treasury is expected to reach its $16.4 trillion borrowing limit in May, giving Congress about three months of wiggle room before the government once again faces a potential default  on its debt.  -   Read more at The Wall Street Journal

CONTINUING RESOLUTION BLOCKS PLAN TO END SATURDAY MAIL DELIVERIES    The stop-gap spending bill passed by the House on Wednesday requires the Postal Service to continue six-day-a-week delivery for the remainder of the year. If the provision prevails, it would block Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe’s cost-cutting request to switch to a five-day schedule to save the struggling agency an estimated $2 billion annually.   -  Read more at The Washington Post

PELOSI BACKS $10 MINIMUM WAGE HIKE     House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, urged members to support a measure boosting the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour over three years.  The measure’s sponsors, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., criticized the president’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9, saying it “doesn’t go far enough.”  -   Read more at The Hill

Follow us on Twitter at @Debt_and_Taxes  and  Brianna Ehley at @briannaehley

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.