The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

February 13, 2013

Is the deficit losing its urgency?

(Continued)

"The politics have shifted. It was intentional," said White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer. "The president put these issues at the forefront of the campaign for the purpose of shifting the politics."

How much the dynamic has shifted will be tested in a series of battles over fiscal priorities in the weeks and months to come.

On March 1, a set of deep automatic spending cuts known as a sequester will begin to hit the Pentagon and other federal agencies.

Obama is urging Congress to replace these cuts, at least temporarily, with a new debt-reduction package that includes more revenue from taxes.

Later next month, a stopgap funding measure that is keeping the government operating will also expire, setting off what promises to be another fight. And there will be yet another clash later this year on raising the government's borrowing limit.

Many Republicans are arguing in favor of letting the sequester hit — despite the likely short-term damage to the economy — and adopting an austere budget plan that would wipe deficits out entirely by 2023.

But Democrats say the economic impact of a sequester is a good argument for pulling back on the deficit-reduction throttle.

"We're saying we should deal with the deficit as part of our economic strategy, not political strategy," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee who is close to the White House. "We're not done with this, but we should be addressing this issue in the context of jobs."

Questions about the "right" amount of deficit reduction have been a hot topic in the policy world in recent weeks.

Liberal analysts, including economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, have long argued that the deficit is hardly an emergency — and that government borrowing and spending had, in fact, provided a necessary counterweight to the collapse of private spending during the recent recession.

Text Only
Politics
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video