Tag Archives: sequester

According to a GAO report, the sequester cuts that were going to destroy civilization as we know it resulted in exactly one layoff across the entire federal government.

According to a GAO report, the sequester cuts that were going to destroy civilization as we know it resulted in exactly one layoff across the entire federal government.

That is not a typo. Only one person total was laid off to meet the mandated cuts imposed by sequestration. Most agencies froze hiring or imposed furloughs, though even the number of furloughs was less than predicted.

Remember this fact the next time a politician screams dire warnings about any cuts in the federal budget.

Bolden and Mikulski hold a press conference to lobby for continuing funding for the James Webb Space Telescope.

Bolden and Mikulski hold a press conference to lobby for continuing funding for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Before JWST entered development, around the turn of the century, program officials projected it would cost $1 billion to $3.5 billion and launch between 2007 to 2011, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Jan. 8. Now, after lengthy delays [seven years] and billions in added costs [a real budget of $8.8 billion], JWST is entering its peak development years, in which major subsystems will be put together, tested, integrated with one another, and tested again. It will be, according to Bolden, one of the most difficult parts of JWST’s construction.

“This is our tough budget year,” Bolden said. It is also the most expensive, according to projections the White House released last April with its 2014 budget proposal. Bolden spoke to the press here after he and Mikulski, JWST’s biggest ally in Congress, held a town hall meeting at Goddard, the center in charge of building the massive infrared observatory. Both NASA employees and executives from some of JWST’s major industry contractors attended.

Mikulski told reporters that automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, which reduced NASA’s 2013 appropriation to about $16.9 billion, “resulted in furloughs, shutdowns, slowdowns [and] slamdown politics [which] are exactly what could derail or cause enormous cost overruns to the James Webb.”

I am especially entertained by the disasters Mikulski lists in the last paragraph, all of which she blames on sequestration. They are identical to the lies Democratic politicians like her told before sequestration took effect, none of which happened. That she now makes believe as if these disasters did happen and expects us to believe her new lies about the future illustrates how much in contempt she holds the general public. Does she really believe people are that stupid?

A House investigation has found that the Obama administration acted to make the sequestration cuts as “painful as possible” for rural schools.

A House investigation has found that the Obama administration acted to make the sequestration cuts as “painful as possible” for rural schools.

I have made no excuses for Chris Christie and the abuse his underlings heaped out in New Jersey against innocent citizens. It was wrong, and it makes me much less likely to support Christie in future campaigns. At the same time, it is also important to note that this one event pales in comparison to the number of similar abuse-of-power stories I’ve noted coming from the Obama administration. When it comes to improperly using the power of government to hurt innocent citizens, Obama and his underlings make Christie look like an amateur.

It appears that Senate Republicans will filibuster the Ryan budget deal.

Maybe not so stupid: It appears that Senate Republicans will filibuster the Ryan budget deal.

If the Republicans in the Senate can force some changes, to both the reduction in the sequester cuts over the next two years as well as the procedural change that ends the minority’s ability to block tax increases, then they will have accomplished something.

What I like about this is that they appear to be willing to fight, something Republicans all too often fail to do.

The Ryan budget deal includes a provision that limits the ability of the Senate minority to block tax increases.

The stupid party: The Ryan budget deal includes a provision that limits the ability of the Senate minority to block tax increases.

The bill includes language from the Senate Democrats’ budget that voids senators’ ability to raise a budget “point of order” against replacing the sequester cuts with tax increases. The process is quite complicated, but in practice it grants Harry Reid the authority to send tax increases to the House with a bare majority, rather than the 60-vote threshold that would be required under a point of order.

In other words, another example of a Republican getting hosed in negotiations.

Though I have read several conservative reports about this deal that outline some of its positive benefits, on the whole it appears to be another defeat for the right.

This detailed look at the budget deal suggests it isn’t as much of a surrender as first implied.

This detailed look at the budget deal suggests it isn’t as much of a surrender as first implied.

I have to admit this analysis leaves me more hopeful, especially with this point:

That the Democrats would accept a deal like this is a pretty striking indication of how the Republican House has changed the conversation on the spending front since 2010. Think of it this way: In their first budget after re-taking the majority—the FY 2012 Ryan budget, passed in 2011—the House Republicans wanted discretionary spending to be $1.039 trillion in 2014 and $1.047 trillion in 2015. These budgets were of course described by the Democrats and the political press (but I repeat myself) as some reversion to humanity’s barbaric past. Yet this proposed deal with the Democrats would put discretionary spending at $1.012 trillion in 2014 and $1.014 trillion in 2015—in both cases below that first House Republican budget.

Check out the graph at the link. It does illustrate bluntly that the Republicans are beginning to force the budget curve downward, if slowly. It also suggests that should they win big majorities in both Houses of Congress next November they will be posed to finally push for some real reductions in the size of the federal government, as they will have the votes in Congress and will be doing it with the strong endorsement of the voters.

The Republican leadership expresses contempt for any opposition to its budget deal that abandons the cuts imposed by sequestration

The Republican leadership expresses contempt for any opposition to its budget deal that abandons the cuts imposed by sequestration.

The Republican leadership are fools. If anything, this is the moment to push harder, to not only demand that the sequestration cuts stay in place, but to demand a repeal of Obamacare.

Why Republicans should reject the surrender budget deal rumors say Paul Ryan is negotiating with Democrats.

Why Republicans should reject the surrender budget deal rumors say Paul Ryan is negotiating with Democrats.

Expect more articles like this. There are a lot of conservatives in the Republican House caucus who are no longer willing to lick the feet of Democrats, even if the Republican leadership is. And any deal that gives up sequestration is going to face their wrath.

Also, these kinds of articles serve to pressure Ryan so that he does not agree to a surrender.

Another news report suggests that Republicans are preparing to surrender in budget talks.

Another news report suggests that Republicans are preparing to surrender in budget talks.

Senior aides familiar with the talks say the emerging agreement aims to partially repeal the sequester and raise agency spending to roughly $1.015 trillion in fiscal 2014 and 2015. That would bring agency budgets up to the target already in place for fiscal 2016. To cover the cost, Ryan and Murray are haggling over roughly $65 billion in alternative policies, including cuts to federal worker pensions and higher security fees for the nation’s airline passengers.

Republican leaders are also seeking additional savings to knock a small dent in deficits projected to exceed $6 trillion over the next decade. But the deal would do nothing to trim the debt, which is now larger, as a percentage of the economy, than at any point in U.S. history except during World War II. [emphasis mine]

To me, the biggest disappointment of this surrender is that Paul Ryan is negotiating it, proof that he too is no fiscal conservative and worse is far more stupid than I had thought.

NASA has issued a clarification specifically excluding its press announcements from the suspension of all public outreach efforts.

NASA has issued a clarification specifically excluding its press announcements from the suspension of all public outreach efforts due to sequestration.

I am not surprised. These budget cuts are aimed at grabbing the most publicity as possible, without harming NASA’s ability to lobby for funding. Ironically, the truth is that much of NASA’s education and outreach work can be cut, will not be missed, and so these cuts should illustrate this fact quite effectively.