Debt & Taxes
The Battle of the Budget Begins
Monday, March 11, 2013 - 10:58am
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Fasten your seat belts. House Republicans and Senate Democrats this week l unveil their dueling budget proposals, which will detail the political  split on tax and spending policy that will make it tough for the White House and Congress to reach a deal on a major deficit reduction package. .

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget – set to be formally announced Tuesday – will include repealing President Obama’s signature health care reform law  and replacing it with  sweeping changes to Medicare and Medicaid.  Ryan’s budget blueprint would wipe out the deficit in 10 years, or less than half the time it would have taken under his previous budget proposals.

Meanwhile, Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash, will put forward a budget on Thursday that includes tax increases on upper-income households and corporations, with modest spending cuts to domestic programs. Murray’s framework wouldn’t come close to achieving a balanced budget in Ryan’s 10-year timeframe.   - Read more at The Wall Street Journal

SENATE DEMS IGNORE WHITE HOUSE DEMANDS    Democrats in the Senate will vote this week on the House-passed continuing resolution to keep the government funded through the remainder of the fiscal year, but first they’ll amend it. That will  bypass the White House’s request for an additional $949 million to offset sequester cuts likely to hinder the president’s health care and Dodd Frank initiatives.  -   Read more at Politico

A FAMILIAR TUNE  In his Saturday radio address, the president announced he’s  ready to work toward a compromise with House Republicans on deficit reduction. Of course, we’ve heard  this song  before. But this time could be different, as the president has (uncharacteristically) been reaching out to Republicans lately. Last  week he treated 12 GOP senators to dinner and he is expected to head to the Capitol this week to meet with House Republicans… Stay tuned. -  Read more at The Fiscal Times

MANY  STILL PESSIMISTIC ABOUT ECONOMY    Despite a positive jobs report and a good week on Wall Street last week,  the majority of voters say the economy is getting worse, according to a new survey from The Hill. Some 48 percent of respondents said the economy is getting worse, while 33 percent said they think the economy is improving. The poll also found that 56 percent of voters believe the sequester will hurt the economy, though 46 percent said they don’t expect the sequester to have a negative impact on their personal circumstances. Maybe the dire warnings by the White House, lawmakers and the media about the effects of sequestration  got a lot of  traction.    -   Read more at The Hill

FURLOUGH FRENZY    In the wake of sequestration, some government agencies are already issuing furlough notices to employees.  See an agency-by-agency list of how sequestration is affecting the federal government here

U.S. COMPANIES STASH $166B OFFSHORE    A new Wall Street Journal analysis of 60 major U.S. corporations found that those companies collectively stored  $166 billion in profits in offshore tax havens last year, shielding more than 40 percent of their total profits from U.S. taxes. Each company held a minimum of $5 billion offshore in 2011.    -   Read more at The Wall Street Journal

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.