Tag Archives: budget

Defense Contractors Discuss ‘Benefits’ of Middle Eastern Conflicts

Major defense contractors Lockheed Martin, Oshkosh and Raytheon appeared pleased this week as escalating conflicts in the Middle East were touted as a reason for investor optimism at a Credit Suisse conference in West Palm Beach.

While defense spending has been a target of budget cuts for the past few years dating back to the budget sequester, this trend was recently reversed with an October budget deal which included $607 billion in additional defense spending.

“Our programs are well supported [in the budget],” said Lockheed’s Executive Vice President Bruce Tanner at the conference. “We think we did fare very well.”

Wilson Jones, president of Oshkosh, noted that countries have shown interest in buying M-ATV armored vehicles made by the company due to “the ISIS threat growing.”

The situation on the ground in Syria and recent downing of a Russian aircraft by the Turkish military has brought defense spending to the forefront of presidential rhetoric. Meanwhile, defense contractors viewed the aircraft downing through a positive lens for their bottom line.

Presidential candidate and United States Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), an outspoken critic of defense spending, asked “how is it conservative to pass a trillion dollars in military expenditures?” during an exchange at the November 12th presidential debate. Paul’s criticism directly targeted a proposal by fellow 2016 candidate United States Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), calling for a $1 trillion dollar increase over the next 10 years. Rubio is one of several candidates calling for large scale increases in defense spending.

The perceived need for the U.S. military to operate stealth aircraft like the Lockheed Martin-made F-22, combined with increases in spending by other regional powers like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on munitions and other systems for use in operations in Yemen, give defense manufacturers even more reason for a positive outlook.

Given this volatility in the region, the environment also promises to provide a boost for candidates in both parties who can leverage hawkish rhetoric and calls for increased U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

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NH Democrat Asks Republicans “Have you looked at euthanasia?” to Balance the Budget

By Patrick Howley 

A Democratic state representative in New Hampshire compared Republican resistance toward raising spending to euthanasia.

“Since we are refusing to raise revenues to fund needed programs, to fund services for disabled for example, have you looked at euthanasia?” Democratic Rep. Michael Cahill said Wednesday on the state House floor during New Hampshire’s budget battle.

Cahill asked the snarky rhetorical question to Republican Rep. Dan McGuire.

“The member is out of order,” replied Republican House speaker Shawn Jasper.

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As deadline nears, $1.1 trillion spending bill is agreed upon

To avoid a government shutdown, Republican and Democratic lawmakers have agreed on a $1.1 trillion spending bill.

The new bill was passed in part to avoid the looming political struggle surrounding President Obama’s new immigration policy.  By agreeing on the new spending bill, this struggle will be delayed for at least another month.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada told the AP, “The federal government’s going to run out of money in two days. … We’ve been trying to work with Republican leaders to avoid a shutdown.”

Republicans are responsible for negotiating the new spending bill which implements a number of new policy measures.  Some of the new measures include, according to Reuters, the easing of environmental regulations as well as regulations aimed at financial derivative trading.  The bill is also adding funds to fight the Islamic State militants as well as funds to help fight the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

According to Politico, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is receiving a $35 million budget increase from the new bill, bringing their total budget to $250 million.  The Securities and Exchanges Commission is also receiving a budget increase of $150 million, putting their budget close to $1.5 billion.

While some measures are added or changed, many of the original policy measures from the fiscal 2015 domestic spending plan are not hampered or hindered.  This means all government agencies are being funded through September 2015, except for the Department of Homeland Security which is only funded to Feb. 27.

One measure which was excluded from the new bill was the federal terrorism insurance measure passed after 9/11.  The insurance was up for a six-year extension, but instead of being included in the spending bill, the extension will be considered on its own at a later date.

Everything You Need To Know About Bi-Partisan Budget Compromise in 2 min!

Ben Swann here, breaking down the new bi-partisan budget compromise by Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Democratic Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray.

The budget will avoid possible government shutdowns in January of next year and October of 2014 as well. How to accomplish this? Through compromise.

So here is what they are proposing. The big picture here, to reduce the federal deficit by $23 billion dollars over the next 10 years without raising taxes. President Obama praised the bi-partisan compromise, and yet, is it true that taxes will not be raised? Not quite.

The plan calls for raises in “fees”. Yes fees. So for instance, the plan reportedly calls for increases in higher airline fees, which if that is the case, is a tax.

But even so this bill is all about getting spending under control right?

Here is the best part. Remember in 2011 something called the Budget Control Act? you would probably remember it as the “Sequester”. Sequester cuts were set up to create automatic spending cuts balanced between cutting defense spending and domestic spending.

Part of the plan to reduce $23 billion dollars in spending over 10 years is to first do away with those pesky automatic sequester cuts to the tune of $65 billion dollars.

So when you hear all the discussion from media over the next few days about this issue, please, allow me to make this simple. The great bi-partisan budget compromise from Congressman Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray attempts to reduce the federal deficit without raising taxes but by charging taxpayers fees.

Ultimately, it will cut $23 billion dollars in spending over the next 10 years but will do so by increasing spending by $65 billion dollars right now.

What Does a Government “Shutdown” actually Shutdown? What You Need To Know

Congress didn’t approve a spending bill to fund the government as of midnight, which means right now, parts of the federal government are shutdown. So, what does this actually mean?

The fiscal year for the U.S. federal government runs October 1st – September 30th. In order to keep things functioning as normal, Congress needed to pass a temporary spending bill before October 1, 2013… they did not.

So what happens now?

Well, despite the claims of the sky falling as a result of the shutdown, not too much will change. The mail will continue to come. The military will continue to be paid, Social Security checks will continue to be sent out and Veterans hospitals will remain open.

Who decides which parts of the government remain open and which close?

That all comes down to the designation of “essential” and “non-essential” parts of government. Of the roughly 3.3 million government employees, most are considered “essential” therefore, the shutdown will not affect them in the long-term. The “essential” employees will be paid regardless of how long the shutdown continues but their checks may be delayed. At the end of the shutdown, those employees should receive retroactive pay. That is not the case, however, for the roughly 1.5 million active duty military members who will be paid no matter what.

In addition, those who will continue to be paid during the shutdown, the President and members of Congress, though members of their respective staffs could be furloughed because they might be considered “non-essential”. Congressional pay cannot be touched.

Which parts of the government will remain open?

Any employee or office who provide a “national security” function or “foreign relations essential to national security” are exempt. Therefore, military is still paid and U.S. embassies will remain open.

Also, the U.S. Border Patrol will continue to operate along with air traffic control, federal prisons, federal law enforcement, operation of the power grid, and guarding of federal property. Why? Because any employee who conducts “essential activities that protect life and property” are also exempt from the shutdown.

Which parts of the government will close?

About 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed and told stay at home and the affect of the shutdown will be felt largely among the National Parks Service, and museums. Also, the servicing of passport applications will be delayed and paying out of Small Business Administration loans, will halt. In addition, financial regulators for the FTC will not be working and the Justice Department will suspend many civil cases.

The last time a government shutdown took place was 1996. At that time, under President Bill Clinton the government was shutdown for 21 days.