Congress Doled Out Staff Bonuses Ahead of Fiscal Cliff

Congress Doled Out Staff Bonuses Ahead of Fiscal Cliff

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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.  -   See the complete list of pre-cliff bonuses here

WHAT’S THE GOING RATE FOR A SEAT IN CONGRESS?    It cost an average $10.4 million to win a Senate seat in the 2012 election, and an average $1.6 million to win a House seat, according to a new study by Maplight, a California-based, bipartisan research organization. Maplight found that House members each raised an average of $2,315 per day for the 2012 election cycle, while Senators raised an average of $14,351 per day.    -   See the study here

OBAMA PRIORITIZES GROWTH OVER A BALANCED BUDGET    Don’t expect the president’s budget to be balanced. White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday that unlike House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s ambitious plan to balance the budget in 10 years, the president isn’t seeking to balance the budget, but rather to put the U.S. on a “fiscally sustainable path that brings the deficit below 3 percent of GDP.” The White House is expected to unveil its budget on April 8th, nearly nine weeks past the legal deadline.    -  Read more at The Hill

GE HOARDS $108 BILLION OFFSHORE    General Electric stored $108 billion in profits overseas to escape U.S. taxes in 2012, according to a new Bloomberg analysis. Of the 83 corporations examined, GE had more offshore profits than any other company. GE is among the usual list of corporations that takes advantage of offshore tax loopholes.  -  Read more at Huffington Post

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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.