As Congress digs in for another debt ceiling battle, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced a bill that would withhold lawmakers’ paychecks until Congress agrees to increase the nation’s borrowing authority. The measure is similar to legislation enacted in January that threatened to deny salaries to lawmakers unless both chambers adopted a fiscal 2014 budget. That law seemed to prompt action on the budget front. We’ll have to see whether Boxer’s proposal gets any traction. Read more at The Hill
CENSUS: DEATH AMONG NON-HISPANIC WHITES EXCEEDS BIRTHS That’s according to a new report from the Census Bureau on Thursday morning. . The data reflects the shrinking of an aging white population compared with the sharp rise in the minority population. .
The study found that Asians are the fastest growing minority. The Asian population rose 2.9 percent last year to a total of 18.2 million. Hispanics grew at a rate of 2.2 percent to 53 million people. They now constitute more than one in six Americans. The black population grew by 1.3 percent, while Caucasians grew by a mere 0.1 percent. Whites currently make up 64 percent of the overall population,but they are on track to become a minority by 2050 if current trends continue. See the breakdown here
FARM BILL FUELS FOOD STAMP FIGHT Lawmakers are on track to pass a farm bill this year, but a huge hurdle remains: food stamps. The Senate passed its farm bill last week that finds $4.1 billion in savings from food stamps over the coming decade. But that’s not sufficient for House Republicans, who have proposed more than $20 billion in cuts. Republicans say food stamp spending is out of control and needs to be reined in to help reduce the deficit. But Democrats say slashing food stamps to help feed the poor and elderly would be cruel and bad for the economy , especially when the deficit has begun to decline. - Read more at The Fiscal Times
NSA CONTINUES EXPANDING DATABASES Amid a raging controversy over the intelligence community’s blanket gathering of phone and Internet data at home and abroad, government contractors are nearing completion of two new mega data centers for the National Security Agency to broaden its databases. The centers are being built at a cost of over $2 billion – one in Fort Meade, MD, where the NSA is headquartered, and the other in Bluffdale, Utah. Taken together, the two centers span 214 acres – or one and a half times the size of the Pentagon. The agency referred to the centers as “data farms” designed to “comb through digital tracks for foreign intelligence and warning about cyber threats.” - Read more at NextGov