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Budget Cuts Mean Furlough Friday at Four Federal Agencies

Across the board budget cuts have shaped Furlough Friday in Washington and somewhere else because the one day closing of four federal agencies forced an unpaid day off for 115,000 workers.

Employees at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Urban Development and Housing, the office of Management and the Internal Revenue Service and Budget stayed home on Friday.

According to Cory Bythrow, communications director at the National Federation of Federal Employees, a union representing government workers. The unemployment affects about 5 percent of the federal workforce. Bythrow tracks workplace fallout from the budget cuts that are known as sequestration.

Bythrow said eighty-five percent of the workers who were furloughed on Friday are based outside Washington. They include union and non-union employees, depending largely on where they are.

The layoff come as the United States heads into a holiday weekend, with Memorial Day celebrated on Monday, when government offices will be closed.

A Washington Post poll released on Friday found 37 percent of Americans feel confiscation has hurt them personally, up from 25 percent in March. Almost half of those affected say the harm to them has been major.


Tax Officials Cite Momentum, Challenges in Tax Revamp

Two US policymakers from opposed ends of the political spectrum on Friday stated thrust is building for a top-to-bottom revamp of the tax code, however the largest question is whether there is political will to get it done.

Mark Prater, a long-time Republican Senate tax counsel and Mark Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department, cited major policy proposals and two years of public hearings and private meetings that have set the foundation for the first rewrite of the code since 1986.

Mazur, who is Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s top policy aide on tax issues, said this year the stars are aligned for tax reform in a way they haven’t been, he and Prater spoke at a legal conference in Washington, at the moment it is just a matter of political will.

The two top tax writing lawmakers expect to push legislation through Congress this year to lower most tax rates and simplify the code that many Americans regard as far too complex.

They may have more political liberty to write a bill as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat, is retiring following this term and House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp a Republican is term-limited as chairman.

President Barack Obama says he backs tax reform, while some have said it does not appear to be high on his agenda.

Mazur accepted there are tons of obstacles, including the divide between the parties on whether the tax reforms should produce more revenue. Democrats generally favor doing this as Republicans do not.

Prater, a tax policy aide to Senator Orrin Hatch the senior Finance Committee Republican, agreed energy is building. One advantage he quoted is the January 1 fiscal deal that lifts taxes on Americans making more than $400,000 a year and also established a budget baseline both parties agree on.

Prater said that the playing field is a lot clearer concerning where we are starting from.

He said on the question of whether a tax renovate should lift revenue, that to me is actually a political question that comes down to what the other pieces of the picture are.


Job Market Resilience Eases Growth Concerns

Employment rose at a quicker pace than expected in April and hiring was much stronger than formerly thought in the prior two months, a sign of flexibility that should help the economy absorb the blow from belt tightening in Washington.

Labor Department said on Friday,non-farm payrolls increased by 165,000 jobs previous month and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.5 percent, the lowest level since December 2008. The job counts for February and March were revised up by a net 114,000.

Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco said that this boosts the case that the US economy will be able to survive the joint headwinds of sequestration and a deepening recession in Europe.

Investors on Wall Street cheered the statistics, which beat economists’ expectations for a 145,000 jobs advance and a steady 7.6 percent reading on the unemployment rate.

US stocks rallied, with the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index closing at record highs. The US dollar vaulted to a one week high against the yen, however Treasury debt prices tumbled.

Payrolls climbed by 138,000 jobs in March, 50,000 more than formerly reported, and job growth for February was revised up by 64,000 to 332,000, the largest growth since May 2010.

However the gains previous month were far below the 206,000 jobs per month average of the first quarter, the newest evidence the economy is cooling even if not as rapidly as earlier feared.

Construction employment dropped for the first time since May and manufacturing payrolls were flat. The length of the average workweek pulled off a nine  month high and a gauge of the overall work effort knock down.

Economists pin the slowdown mainly on higher taxes that took hold at the start of the year and $85 billion in federal government spending cuts known as the sequester, that went into effect at the start of March. Economies overseas have also weakened cutting into US export growth.

However the US economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual pace in the first quarter, statistics on construction spending, retail sales and trade suggested it ended the period with less speed.


President Barack Obama’s nominee to Lead Budget Office Sails Toward Confirmation

President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Office of Budget and Management appeared Wednesday to be on a clear path toward Senate confirmation.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, a former official in the administration of President Bill Clinton and until lately head of Wal Mart Stores philanthropic wing, float through committee votes without Republican opposition on Wednesday, almost assuring her confirmation as the next head of OMB.

Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington state, chairwoman of the budget committee released a declaration shortly following the committee vote on Wednesday applauding the tough bipartisan support for Burwell’s confirmation.

Murray said I am confident she is going to do a enormous job at OMB working to enhanced the economy and tackle our deficit and debt in a balanced way and I am looking forward to the complete Senate approving her nomination as soon as possible.

If Burwell proceeds through verification of the full Senate, she will take over the office that crafts the administration’s spending policies and acts as a key negotiator in budget argument with Republicans in the US Congress.

As Obama has faced a number of staining confirmation battles over his executive branch selections, Burwell cleared both the Senate Homeland Security and Senate Budget Committee and Governmental Affairs Committee the by a voice vote, winning praise from some Republicans along the way.

Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a longtime critic of OMB and the highest ranking Republican member of the budget committee and Obama’s budget policies, offered kind words for the president’s nominee.

She’s a very wonderful person, Sessions said, maybe at a time of fiscal crisis it’s the toughest job in Washington.

Burwell would swap acting director Jeffrey Zients, who stepped in following Obama tapped former OMB Director Jack Lew to be his White House chief of staff.


President Barack Obama Tries to Encourage Republicans With Cuts in Budget

President Barack Obama will offer cuts to Social Security and other benefit programs in a budget offer coming week aimed at captivating over enough congressional Republicans to pass a broad deal to reduce the deficit.

Although Obama’s prior budgets have principally been ignored in Congress, the White House wants to use this year’s suggestion to be released on Wednesday, to move away from the fiscal fights that have consumed Washington since 2010.

However several attempts to reach an agreement balancing tax increases with spending cuts have failed, and prediction for a grand bargain remain soften. John Boehner ,House of Representatives Speaker, who let taxes climb for the wealthiest Americans earlier this year, has ruled out any additional revenue increases and was lukewarm regarding Obama’s latest proposal.

When the president visited the Capitol previous month, House Republicans declared a desire to find common ground and urged him not to make savings we agree upon conditional on another round of tax boost, if reports are accurate the president has not notice that call.

Obama also faces confrontation from fellow Democrats over his offer to apply a less generous measure of inflation to calculate cost of living raise that would affect Social Security and other government programs when he reveals his budget.

That change would effect in lower payments to some beneficiaries of the Social Security pension program and is staunchly opposed by many of the president’s party as well as retiree groups and labor.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who votes with the Democrats said that he is terribly disappointed and will do everything in my power to block President Obama’s offer to cut benefits for Social Security recipients.

Rudolph Penner, a former Congressional Budget Office director said that he believe that he would like to have is a impressive bargain which puts these fiscal issues behind them for a good number of years. If he does not get the grand bargain his second term is not going to be a very cheerful one.


A fiscal Cautions from two former budget chiefs

Two ex- budget chiefs who worked for presidents from opposing political parties stated on Monday that the government should decrease military spending, end decade-old income tax cuts and scale back Social Security payments to reduce the federal deficit.

David Stockman, who was a key architect of tax cutting policies and Republican Ronald Reagan’s budget director from 1981 to 1985, and Peter Orszag, budget director for Democratic President Barack Obama from January 2009 until July 2010, agreed that the US spends more on defense than is needed.

Both also stated that the country would be well served if wealthier citizens paid more taxes and took less significant benefits from the government in their old age.

Orszag said that the governments are right to use spending to stretch out the economic regulation to keep huge segments of population from losing their jobs, which itself can sourced long lasting problems.

The Great Deformation is the men spoke on the eve of the official publication of Stockman’s new book, the Corruption of Capitalism in America.

Stockman criticizes politicians of both parties, opening with Democrat Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s and including his former boss Reagan as well as previous Republican President George W. Bush.

Stockman advises investors to sell their securities and hold cash as an alternative. He confess he does not believe Washington will adopt his advice.

Orszag stated Stockman was not correct to place so much blame for the budget deficit and weak economy on government policies. Changes from new technology and global trade have hurt employment and incomes.

Some $85 billion of comprehensive government spending cuts automatically took effect on March 1 following Congress and the White House failed to agree on federal budget decisions. The drain of money has placed pressure on the US Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low to prop up the economy.

Washington is having returning fiscal showdowns over how to slash the budget deficit and $16 trillion of national debt, which was build from years of spending on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and stimulation for the US economy.


President Barack Obama Touts Infrastructure In Florida Tour Focused on Economy

President Barack Obama walked into the mouth of a huge tunnel in Miami on Friday to emphasizing proposals to enhanced investment in US infrastructure, a move designed to demonstrate a leader still focused on the economy in the midst of broader policy battles in Washington.

in the past, Obama stated that he wanted to develop a national infrastructure bank and capitalize it with $10 billion. The plan is to pull in private sector funding and select projects based on merit.

He would also generate America Fast Forward Bonds that would facilitate local governments and state attract money for infrastructure projects. These would be direct subsidy bonds in which the issuer would obtain a 28 percent subsidy of the borrowing cost as a way of attracting a wider set of investors.

In addition, Obama would add $4 billion to support two programs that are used to provide funding for infrastructure projects like the Miami tunnel.

It is  not clear that how far the proposals will go in Congress. Republicans are unwilling to support what they consider government stimulus spending following a much criticized $787 billion stimulus plan that Obama managed to push through Congress in 2009.

Since his January inauguration and his re-election in November, Obama has steered a policy push focused principally on passing both immigration reform and tightening the control measures.

But, his State of the Union address in February included a sequence of measures to enhanced the economy and the Florida trip fleshed out some of those ideas.

Alan Krueger, Obama’s chief economist stated that the traveling with the president on Air Force One that the three main suggestion outlined by Obama would cost some $21 billion however that cuts would be made elsewhere to avoid rising the deficit.

Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget proposal will be released on April 10, would spell out how they are paid for, all of the proposals need congressional approval.

While Obama will not run for re-election another time, Florida is still significant for him and his fellow Democrats. The political swing state backed the president in 2012 and will be essential to determining whether a Republican recaptures or whether a Democrat holds on to the White House it in 2016.


New York Assembly Approved Budget On Time Third Year In A Row

New York’s Assembly approved the state’s $135 billion budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 on Thursday just earlier than midnight, the third budget in a row to be delivered on time in a state recognized for regularly being late.

Officials hurried to sign off on the legislation during a week that was interrupt with religious holidays and have succeeded in attaining the job done ahead of the start of the state’s fiscal year on April 1.

Getting the budget completed on time may not sound like much to be proud, however it is being touted as a achievement in a state where seasoned budget watchers remind over a decade of tardiness when budgets would sometimes run into late summer.

Andrew Cuomo, State Governor stated that although three on time budgets in a row should not sound like much and in New York state this is the very first time it has happened in approximately 30 years. Year following year the budgets became a flash point for the chaos and dysfunction of state government.

The Assembly’s 13 hour session broke up just earlier than midnight on Thursday and trait extended debate over a stack of failed adjustments. They included one that attempt to torpedo a tax incentive broadly seen as a way to attract.

A Republican adjustment’s to restore $90 million in funding for the developmentally disabled failed however there were impassioned pleas to revisit the concern on both sides.

The money was cut as Washington Congressional committee stated that New York state was over billing the federal government for Medicaid funds for centers that treat public with developmental disabilities. That led to the state cutting $1.1 billion from the budget proposal in February.

While a package the budget holds spending growth under 2 percent, lift the least wage incrementally to $9 an hour by the end of 2015, extend superior tax rates for millionaires and tax breaks for the middle class that were to expire during coming year.

It also boost state funding for schools by $1 billion and creates a tax rebate program that will deliver $350 checks to a million middle income peoples with children right prior to state elections in 2014.


Spotlights Shifting In Congress from Automatic Cuts To Dueling Budget Strategy

With slight outlook of getting rid of the automatic spending cuts that kicked in on March 1, the White House and the Congress will shift on to bigger budget battles this week as dueling Democratic and Republican proposals land in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Neither budget plan is expected to be pass. However the proposals to be submitted by Patty Murray a Democratic Senator of Washington and Paul Ryan a Republican Representative of Wisconsin should outline the debate over the spending priorities and for the government’s taxing next few months and perhaps into the 2014 Congressional elections.

The budgets from Murray and Ryan lead the budget committees in the two chambers, are extensively seen as wish lists improper to the opposing party, underline the depth of the fiscal divide.

Ryan plans disclose on Tuesday a slightly customized version of the budgets passed by the House in each of the previous two years, cutting spending by $5 trillion over a decade and moderately privatizing the Medicare health plan for retirees and dismantling President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law.

With the help of $620 billion in latest tax boost on the wealthy as a result of the January fiscal cliff deal Ryan’s plan endeavor to balance the budget by 2023, compared with 2040 in his previous year’s proposal.

Murray has indicated that her budget will aim to provide the economy some breathing room to permit more rapidly growth in the next few years, as maintaining social safety net programs and making critical investments in research and education.

Her budget is not likely to achieve balance as Ryan’s does, however will aim to contract deficits down to a sustainable level that will allow debt as a percentage of the economy to start fading.

The plan will get there by reducing some of the approximate $1 trillion in tax expenditures subsidies paid through tax deductions, credits and other elimination.

Many Republicans including Ryan, also want to secure these ambiguities, however they want to switch the savings to reduce tax rates. This type of inclusive tax reform, they argue, will generate a simpler cleaner tax code that will promote economic growth.


President Barack Obama Faces Skepticism From Republicans and Democrats on Budget Deal

Obama must effort with a extremely skeptical partner as he attempt to unwrap painful spending cuts and set US finances on a further sustainable course the moderate wing of his own party.

Although Republicans have dug in their heels verses additional tax boost, several Obama’s fellow Democrats have rejected to consider cuts to popular health and retirement programs that are planned to eat up a rising wedged of the nation’s resources.

As a consequence the deficit cutback efforts so far apart from tax addition’s, have come from cuts to domestic programs and military, along with the $85 billion in reductions that went into consequence previous week. The unbiased Congressional Budget Office projects that those appropriation cuts will reduce 750,000 jobs.

Obama stated official’s in both parties will have to give opinion to put an end to the budget wars that have sluggish economic growth and dominated Washington for the last two years.

However many of his fellow Democrats previously have ruled out the pretty modest changes the president has planned to entitlement settlement such as the Medicare health plan and the Social Security pension program for the elderly.

Keith Ellison, US Representative of Minnesota, a leader of the party’s liberal wing in the House said that he is a supporter of the president, however me being  as a supporter of the president does not mean thta he is a servant of the president.

Ellison and other liberals are not willing to compromise following previous year’s election, in which Obama defeated Mitt Romney the Republican presidential candidate, who called for additional spending cuts.

A majority of House Democrats signed a letter previous month telling Obama they would not support cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits as part of a deal to assist cultivated the US government’s debt, now more than $16 trillion. A majority of Senate Democrats signed a alike letter in December, refused cuts to Social Security.