McDonald's is under fire this week for launching a "budget planner" for employees that can best be summed up with the following maxim: If you don't want to end up homeless and possibly dead, get yourself a second job.
President Obama is announcing his proposed 2014 budget today, and judging from an overview provided by the White House (below), it's bound to piss off conservatives and progressives in near-equal measure. The $3.77 trillion planned budget includes the largest deficit cut in any year of Obama's tenure.
The city of Topeka, Kansas, which is broke because it exists in America, maybe won't prosecute domestic battery anymore because those cases are too expensive. City officials want the county district attorney to handle them now. But the DA just said last month that he's not going to prosecute any misdemeanors committed in Topeka at all, due to office budget cuts.
NPR—and the entire public broadcasting apparatus in general—has had a bad year. The botched Juan Williams firing, followed by the botched fallout from the Juan Williams firing, followed by the dumb James O'Keefe prank pseudocontroversy, followed by the resignation of NPR's CEO, mixed with constant calls from Republicans to defund NPR, which even convinced some pinko liberals that NPR should just get off the government payroll once and for all.
A congressional staff member sent us this snapshot from outside Rep. Sam Graves' (R - Mo.) office, taken around 10:15 p.m. as Congress wrapped up the final budget compromise. Note that we are not—absolutely not!—implying that Republican staffers were drunk during the up-to-the-wire negotiations! Just reckless and crazy and dangerously ignorant. Okay, and maybe a little drunk. Here's the full-sized photo; we've got an email with with Rep. Graves' office and will let you know if we hear back. (Hey! At least they're recycling, right?)
With just an hour to go before a midnight deadline, Democrats and Republicans reached a last-minute budget compromise tonight, averting a government shutdown that would have brought Washington to a standstill and furloughed hundreds of thousands of federal employees. The deal—which involves $39 billion in cuts but does not include a Republican provision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood—isn't final: congressional leaders now have five days to iron out the formal details. Crisis averted—for now! [NYT, CNN]
It's been almost a week since House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House last sat down to hammer out a budget agreement, and the schedule's still blank. Accusations of bad faith are now flying from both sides. Republicans are poised to reject a White House offer, TPM has learned, that would cut over $30 billion in current spending because of disagreements over whether the package should include cuts to mandatory spending programs. Democrats are pushing for such cuts, which include the big entitlement programs, though the specific cuts they're proposing remain unclear. In an ironic twist, Republicans oppose those cuts and want to limit the negotiations to non-defense discretionary spending, a smaller subset of the federal budget.
The House of Representatives passed a two-week stopgap spending measure, cutting (against Democratic objections) $4 billion in spending but—assuming passage of an identical measure in the Senate—averting a government shutdown until March 18. The White House had proposed a 30-day extension with $8 billion in cuts in the hopes of creating some breathing room for budget negotiations; Republicans, eager as always to prove their intractability, preferred the two-week extension as a way to keep pressure on the Democrats to accept their budget, which cuts $61 billion in spending. Today's measure passed 335 to 91, with a majority of both parties voting "yea"; "some Republicans," according to the Times, voted against today's spending measure because it didn't defund the Affordable Health Care Act. Your government in action, folks!
National Journal's Mark Ambinder reports that President Obama's budget proposal—which hits the streets Monday—would cut federal heating assistance to the poor in half for the 2012 fiscal year. I know! Tragic! That's only $2.5 billion in cuts! We'll never teach our citizens about budget discipline at this rate! Luckily, there is an alternative: The Republican spending plan, unveiled on Wednesday, which would "practically eliminate the program's contingency fund" immediately. Hear, hear! I don't understand why anyone lives in Massachusetts in the first place. [National Journal; image via AP]