Category: Senate


President Obama and congressional leaders traded blame on who is at fault for not reaching a deficit reduction deal. Many political pundits and experts believed that the super committee from its very conception was doomed to fail. They didn’t think that the two parties are able to work together in this Congress, and reach a compromise and agreement.

The American citizen feels that there is no leadership from either party, and the economy is in a precarious situation. As the two parties draw a line in the sand, we can expect more fighting and more finger-pointing. In 2012, the fight will be over job creation, healthcare, immigration, taxes, military spending, housing market, debt, and the deficit.

It appears the more the two parties fight, both sides think they will win, and benefit politically and substantively. They would rather fight and look foolish to the world, and the American people. The nature of democracy is to compromise, but in our Congress in 2011, the nature of the legislators is to remain stubborn.

The co-chairs of the bipartisan special joint committee said in a statement that, “after months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline.”

This was a very difficult task but I was speculating that this committee would be successful. This super committee was charged with the responsibility to find $1.2 trillion in spending reductions and deficit reductions measures.  There were 6 members from each party and together they would agree on cuts and negotiate a plan to present to the public and Congress.

Many believe at the center of this dispute is a conservative activist Grover Norquist, and author of a popular GOP campaign pledge never to raise taxes. There are many Republicans across the country and in Congress, who have taken the pledge and refuse to raise taxes. He is also the head of a conservative group, Americans for Tax Reform, and many Republicans refuse to disagree with this organization.

There are 95% of Republicans in the Senate and House, who have signed the pledge. This pledge is a sacred covenant for virtually anyone wishing to run as a Republican, and it is a clearinghouse for conservative ideas.

President Obama is placing the blame on the Republicans, because they rejected a balanced approach to deficit reduction that included tax increases on the wealthy. “Despite broad agreement that exists for such an approach, there are still too many Republicans in Congress that have refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise that are coming from outside of Washington,” said President Obama.

All of the legislators on both sides of the fence are discussed with the super committee, because many thought it had a task that was achievable. Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said, “It is nothing short of an embarrassment, an absolute national disgrace, and failure of leadership that we cannot agree on even a paltry $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions.”

Since the super committee did not reach an agreement, there will be automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion over the next year. They are heavily focused toward defense and there is no clear planning on how they will be implemented. There is no planning on the expiration on the Bush tax cuts, which will raise rates on all Americans in 2013.

The two parties can continue to fight and not agree on anything, and blame each other. But logically it would make more sense to compromise and get our fiscal house in order.  

 

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When legislators in Congress are appointed to a “presidential blue-ribbon committee,” their importance raises in their party. Instantly, their influence is more significant, and the media begins to seek them out for interviews. The six Democrats, three from the Senate and three from the House, and the six Republicans three from the Senate, and three from the House comprise “Obama’s Super Committee.”

The “Super Committee” is a twelve bipartisan Congressional group who will work on a debt-reduction strategy to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion by Thanksgiving of this year. The twelve member panel has a historic opportunity to overhaul the Tax Code and entitlements. If the committee fails to produce a debt reduction plan of $1.2 trillion, across-the-board cuts would kick in evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending to make up $1.2 trillion in cuts.

The committee’s co-chairs are Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). The rest of the members are as follows; Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Senator John Kerry(D-MA), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Representative Dave Camp (R-MI), Representative James Clyburn (D-SC), and Representative Fred Upton (R-MI).

There is a good cross-section of experience and knowledge on the panel, but I wonder if anyone has the courage to significantly cut the military’s budget and funding. In the last ten years, the military base budget has increased by 80% from $302 billion in 2000 to $545 billion in 2011, says the National Priorities Project. The total cost of the Iraq war since 2001 is $869 billion, and the cost of the Afghanistan war $487 billion.

Most people ignore the nation’s security budget, but that became a new line item in 2001 with homeland security. This is a hard line item to arrive at because it flows through dozens of federal agencies. It started as a request for 16 billion, but in the last ten years the government has spent $636 billion.

When the figure for military spending for the last ten years is added up, the number is around $8 trillion. This is the number that the National Priorities Project has used, but a recent study published by the Watson Institute of International Studies at Brown University took a broader approach. By including funding for such things as veterans benefits, future cost for treating the war-wounded, and interest payments on war related borrowing, they came up with an additional $3.2 trillion.

These additional expenses increase the number for military spending in ten years to be around $11 or $12 trillion. With all the serious discussion on reducing the debt, it would seem logical to take a hard look at military funding and spending. There are some on the Super Committee who are against cutting military spending and believe that funding should be increased.

Nevertheless, the question must be raised, is our country safer with all the money being spent, and is the money being wasted? For the last ten years, the government has tries to do an audit with the military, and they haven’t had any success. There are so many secret funds, because of national security, an audit is vertically impossible.

Everyone knows that there is fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in the military’s budget. It would appear that in the military’s budget, the legislators could find $600 to $700 billion to cut over the next 5 to 10 years. Cutting another $500 billion is going to be tough and the Super Committee has its work cut out for them.

The president is finally getting the parties to sit down and arrive at a compromise. All eyes and the media will be focused on the Super Committee for the next four months.

Representative Doug Lamborn

Last week, Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) sent a personal letter to President Obama apologizing for his use of the phrase “tar baby.” In his letter, he claims that he was attempting to verbalize his opinion that the President’s economic policies “have created a quagmire for the nation and are responsible for the dismal economic conditions our country faces.”

In a statement to The Denver Post, Lamborn had this to say: “I absolutely intended no offence, and if this is at all on his radar screen, I am sure that he will not take offence and he’ll be happy to accept my apology, because he is a man of character.” It appears that Lamborn thinks that the president will accept his apology, and his use of the term was not a big deal.

But all around the country, people are incensed and disturbed that a federal legislator would blatantly

Political radio host David Sirota

disrespect the office of the president publicly. David Sirota, AM 760 radio host said this in response to Lamborn’s “tar baby” remark: “The fact that a sitting member of the United States Congress would take to the airwaves to use such a racially derogatory term to describe the first African-American president in American history is disgusting.”

It is obvious that there is a pervasive sickness, which is prevalent in a certain group in the country, and they are not afraid to say in public what they say in private. This is creating an environment of disrespect and racist statements and actions are on the increase.

Also this week on the Al Sharpton radio show, Pat Buchanan, former GOP presidential candidate and current MSNBC analyst, referred to President Obama as “your boy.” Without a doubt this was disrespectful, but Mr. Buchanan said that he didn’t mean to slur President Obama by referring to him as “your boy” during a discussion with Al Sharpton. They were discussing Obama’s political strength when Buchanan said that “your boy” had caved in past negotiations, and was likely to do so in the future.

Al Sharpton and Pat Buchanan face off on the Al Sharpton show when Buchanan makes a derogatory statement

Sharpton responded, “MY what…My president, Barack Obama and what did you say?” At this point Al Sharpton was very angry and the interview continued to deteriorate. Again it was no justification for using this type of derogatory language, when referring to the president.

For some reason, when conservatives criticize the president, they feel they can use almost any kind of language and it is okay. Probably, when they are in private their language is nasty, and their friends say ugly things about the president. But in public, certain decorum is expected, when you are in a position of authority and respectability.

The White House has not made any official comments about Representative Lamborn and Mr. Buchanan’s statements. Many Americans will say that we all have a right to freedom of speech. This would justify Lamborn and Buchanan the right to say what they think and there is nothing that anyone can do.

Shawn J. Parry-Giles is an award-winning Professor in the Department of Communication, Director of Graduate Studies, and Director of the Center for Political Communication and Civic Leadership at the University of Maryland.

But I believe in protocol, and there are certain things that you do not say, because it is the right thing to do. I would be thoroughly disappointed if some reporter used the N word when referring to the president. Given that language is the purveyor of people’s deepest thoughts, as well as the fact that language use is often unconscious, “even a slip of the tongue can reflect the kind of prevalence of racism that still exist within our culture,” says Shawn Parry-Giles.

This week, there have been too many slips of the tongue by our leaders and the media. The race problem is still one of the major problems in the country, because the people in power are not willing to share with the people of color. President Obama was elected by the people, but many of our leaders are having problems calling him Mr. President.

U.S. Senate leadership

On the evening of July 31, 2011, the Senate and The House of Representatives have reached a tentative agreement. Ending a perilous stalemate, President Obama announced an agreement on Sunday night on a compromise that would avoid the nation’s first-ever financial default. The deal would cut more than $2 trillion from federal spending over a decade.

This agreement is tentative and the Congress must ratify the deal with a vote. No votes were expected in either house of Congress until Monday, to give rank and file lawmakers time to review the package. The framework of the deal would give the President a debt ceiling increase of up to $2.4 trillion, and guarantee an equal amount of deficit reduction over the next 10 years.

“Default would have had a devastating effect on our economy,” Obama said at the White House, relaying the news to the American people and financial market around the world. He thanked both the leaders of each party.  

After a tough week of meetings and negotiations, the House of Representatives, Senate leadership, and the president are able to feel good about their accomplishment. According to Democrats and Republican sources, here are the key elements of the deal. There is still work to be done and the leaders of both parties are rounding up votes for the deal.

The debt ceiling increase tentatively would be around $2.1 trillion and the spending cuts would be equal to increase over 10 years. The formation of a special Congressional committee to recommend further deficit reductions that may take the form of spending cuts or tax increases. The special committee must make recommendations by late November, before the Thanksgiving recess.

Congress must also approve those cuts by December 23, or automotive cuts across the board go into effect, including cuts to federal defense programs and Medicare. This trigger is designed to force action on the deficit reduction committee’s recommendations to both Democrats and Republicans. There would also be a vote in both houses on a balanced budget amendment.

As the Congress gets down to the 11th hour, the two houses are close to a deal. During President Bush’s eight years the debt limit was raised 19 times, without the fuss and fight of this Congress. When Bush took office the debt limit was $5.95 trillion, and when he left it was $9.81 trillion.

Top Aide to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett

President Obama has been deeply involved in trying to win a debt deal that both parties find agreeable and can work with. “He’s getting absolutely no sleep. He’s working tirelessly, meeting with his economic team, doing a lot of outreach, exploring all kinds of possibilities for compromise,” top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett told Reuters Insider. This has translated into even longer days than normal at the White House, which already begins with a senior staff meeting at 7:30 am in the morning.

It appears that all the hard work has paid off for President Obama, and his administration. It is still too early to relax, but all the leaders are announcing that a deal has been struck. Democrats won’t like the fact that Medicare could be exposed to automatic cuts, but the sizes of the Medicare cuts are limited. They are designed to be taken from Medicare providers, and not beneficiaries.

Finally, the House of Representatives and the Senate are starting to compromise, and do what is best for the citizens of the country. Somehow President Obama must make bipartisan a reality in Washington, and get the two parties to cooperate, and work together. Making decisions together that improve and enhance the country is the job of our representatives.   

President Obama gets tough on Republicans concerning Debt Limit …by Roger Caldwell.

Senate Leader Harry Reid

In Washington, there is political theatrics controlling the Congress, and every politician wants to be on the news. Everyone is playing games and they know that they are not doing their job. The President ran on a platform of change and the expectation level in the country was incredible.

America was ready for fundamental changes in Washington, and President Obama initially was a politician that progressive citizens could believe. He started his term with a majority of Democrats in the Senate and the Congress, and he got passed over 60 bills. He was able to get the Healthcare Reform Bill passed that other presidents had tried but failed.

President Obama’s polls approval rating initially was in the high sixties into low seventies. Minority communities’ approval rating for the president was in the nineties. But as the euphoric honeymoon began to dissipate into reality, we found many of the problems with the Obama administration were the same as other administrations.

The political fights between the Republicans and the Democrats were the same, but in President Obama’s administration they were a little meaner and nastier. With the emergence of the Tea Party, a new ideology was initiated that wanted a smaller federal government and were extremely conservative.

President Obama and the Democratic Party underestimated the influence and the political clout of

Tea Party

 the power of the Tea party movement. It is a loosely organized nationalized movement, which is the mobilized radical arm of the Republican Party. They are dissatisfied with the direction the country is going and they are angry.

With the country $14 trillion in debt, and every state treasury in debt, the Tea Party is correct when they say the Congress needs to balance its books and control spending. The problem with the Tea Party is they want to go backward as opposed to forward. Much of their ideology is based on state’s rights, American supremacy, and the good old-boy’s system.

Nevertheless, without a doubt the Tea Party members are a major impediment, and they make it harder to get the federal budget passed. They are a divisive force, and with the election of 2010, the new 85 Republican House members are connected to the Tea Party.

But all the blame for not getting the 2010 budget passed can be blamed on the Republicans and the Tea Party. When the Democrats had a majority in both Houses, they still could not get the budget passed. Somewhere there appears to be a problem with leadership, or planning in the party. If the Speaker of the House and the leader of the Senate are both Democrats, they should be able to agree on a budget, and get it passed.

This week the government shutdown was averted with a late night deal right before the deadline. Even though the shutdown was avoided this fight was over peanuts, because the debate over the 2011 budget will soon start. With a divided Congress, who doesn’t like each other, there will probably be a major fight within the parties, and against each party.

John Boehner, Speaker of the House and Harry Reid, Senator Leader met President Obama four times in one week to finally come up with a deal. John Boehner says, “The president is not leading. He didn’t lead on last year’s budget, and he clearly is not leading on this year’s budget.”

President Obama meets with his aides

At times President Obama is not engaged and he leaves certain projects and initiatives in the hands of his administrators. It appears the president’s strategy is to remain behind the scenes and let his aides do the negotiating. No longer can the president let his aides do the negotiating.

The president must be engaged from the very beginning and be the leader of his team. Our government needs the president to get vocal, get serious, and demand results.             

 

Libya on the streets in protest

As President Obama takes a five day trip to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador, there are many major events bombarding the president. There are a series of bloodless revolutions and bloody civil wars that have spread through Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya. In Japan, there is an earthquake and tsunami, with the possibility of 10,000 people dead, and trillions worth of property destroyed.

Everyone has been waiting for decisive action from the president on global issues, and on Saturday, March 19, 2011, President Obama authorized limited military action against Libya. France, Britain, and the United States have warned Gadhafi that they would resort to military measures if he ignores the United Nations resolution demanding a cease-fire. 

Initially Libya agreed to a cease-fire, and promised to stop military operations against its citizens to prevent international military intervention. The United Nations authorized a “no-fly zone” and all necessary measures to prevent the regime from striking and killing its own people. Once this announcement came from the Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa

Moussa Koussa, foreign minister of Libya

 Koussa, it was followed with a fierce attack by Gadhafi’s forces against Misrata, the last rebel-held city in the western half of the country.

Once the coalition forces observed that Gadhafi was not going to abide by the United Nations cease-fire resolution, it was time to take decisive action. The United States is taking part in a five country operation, “Odyssey Dawn”: along with Britain, France, Canada, and Italy. Their goal is to stop the innocent slaughter of the civilians.

U.S. Navy soldiers stand in preparation for efforts towards Libya

The United States has a host of forces and ships in the area, including submarines, destroyers, amphibians’ assault and landing ships. A senior military official said the United States launched air defenses with strikes along the Libyan coast that were launched by Navy vessels in the Mediterranean. The assault would unfold in stages, and Obama once again stated that the United States would not send ground troops to Libya.

America is in a precarious situation in this particular conflict. This country is still one of Africa’s largest oil producing countries on the continent. We know we need oil and President Obama has emphasized that the purpose of this operation is not to get rid of Gaddafi.

In a letter to President Obama, Gaddafi said, “If you found rebels taking over American cities with armed force, tell me what would you do?” There is no simple answer to this question, because all around the world, in Asia and Africa there are civil wars with governments against rebels and grassroots people. Many of these people are deprived of their human rights and dignity, but very little is done because countries have their own national sovereignty.

President Obama addressing Libyan conflict

President Obama has laid out a leadership role for the United States for the Libyan civil war. “In this effort, the United States is prepared to act as part of an international coalition. American leadership is essential, but that does not mean acting alone – it means shaping the conditions for the international community to act together,” says Obama.

It appears that the United States has learned its lessons in going into countries without international support. It makes sense to strategically plan responses to international conflicts, because once you are in, it is hard to get out. Hopefully the Libyan conflict will not be a long protracted war, but a quick conflict where the different factions can reach a compromise.  

President Obama is taking a stand concerning global justice and other tyrants and dictators should take notice. There are basic human rights that all citizens should have protected, and global coalitions can bring this to fruition. It is easy to talk justice and treating everyone with human rights, but it is hard to make it a reality.

Congress in session

Everywhere you go in the United States, you hear people talking about making the federal government smaller. Many conservatives are considering revolting against the federal government and making the states more powerful.

Even in the state of Florida, our governor is refusing money from the federal government to build high speed rail. Our governor believes that our state could end up owing the entire $2.4 billion back to the government, if there are problems with the construction and the project is not completed. Based on his studies, there are too many “ifs and maybes” to risk the taxpayer’s hard earned money and resources.

Many governors in Wisconsin, New Jersey, Ohio, and Florida have decided that they will solve their own problems with limited interference from the federal government. Many of these states are controlled by conservative legislatures and governors, and they want to limit union intervention, and collective bargaining. They believe that they have a mandate from the people, and the same philosophy is prevalent with Republicans in the federal Congress.

These Republicans in the Congress are conservative, and believe that they were sent to Washington with a mission. Their goal is to cut spending and help to shrink the federal government. Even though the budget was $3.1 trillion when Bush was president, they want to turn back the hands of time.

The Republicans argue with the Democrats, and the Democrats argue with the Republicans over $100 billion in cuts. Both parties know that $100 billion is a small percentage of the budget, and they are fighting over peanuts. When the proposed budget for 2012 is $3.7 trillion, and the deficit is $1.3 trillion, there are other fundamental problems with balancing our federal budget.

Our country continues to fight one major war that is costing on the average, $9 billion a month and we are also dumping around $5 billion a month in Iraq, and there is no telling what the expense to keep bases around the world.  It is obvious fighting wars that we can not win is a terrible strategy, and a drain on our resources and funds.

Somewhere in President Obama campaign and the reality of Washington, our country is caught between a rock and a hard place. Cutting social programs for the poor, minorities, women, children and the elderly is no way to run the richest country on earth. Our politicians are looking in the wrong places to cut expenses.

President Obama

President Obama was right when he stated that the rich 2% of our population needs to pay more taxes, because of our deficits, and they can afford it. By the same token, our international corporations and conglomerates can afford to pay more taxes. The middle class, the poor, and the small businesses should receive a break on taxes.

It is time for the president to take a position and establish his leadership role in the Congress, and with the conservative governors around the country. The president must take the initiative and establish where the right places to make the cuts in his budget. Shutting down some of the military bases around the world could save our country billions.

Our country could save billions by stopping policing the world and stop financing corrupt governments who we want to be our friends. Finally, we should stop fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and redirect the savings to balance our budget, and improve our infrastructure.

Many of the cuts that Republicans and the Democrats are making are for show. If they are serious about balancing our budget, they will help end the wars, and tax the people and the corporations in the country who can afford to pay.

At the present time, the 2011 budget has not been signed by the president, because both Houses cannot agree on spending cuts and what to fund. As a result, our government is operating on a continuing resolution that comes to an end on March 4, 2011.

Speaking at an event

Dick Morris, political author and commentator

Many conservatives in the country believe that in order to get President Obama’s attention that the Republicans should force a shutdown over health care funding. The ultra-conservative Republicans want the size of government reduced and they are wiling to try different tactics to make this a reality. “There’s going to be a government shutdown, just like in 1995 and 1996, but we’re going to win it this time,” said Dick Morris at the American for Prosperity Foundation Conference.

Conservatives have taken the position that the deficits and recession are a result of Democratic policies and they are holding the Obama administration as the culprits. The conservative Republicans believe that they have a mandate from the American people to stop spending money and slash government spending by tens of billions of dollars.

Recently, the Republicans in the House voted to cut $61 billion in federal spending this year from the budget. This is setting up for a budget confrontation, between the Democrat-controlled Senate over the 2011 budget. Senate Democrats have made it clear that they are not willing to accept the $61 billion cuts that the Republican House has proposed.

“Read my lips: We’re going to cut spending,” House Speaker John Boehner, told reporters

Speaker of the House

 last week when announcing he won’t accept a short-term extension without some spending reductions. It appears that the House Republicans are drawing a line in the sand and they are refusing to budge.

As the Congress gets closer to the March 4, 2011 deadline, the two sides will have to make concessions if they plan to keep the government running. If the government was to shutdown, it would halt military pay, veterans’ benefits, Social Security checks, and government functions such as food-safety inspections. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has introduced a temporary spending measure to keep government agencies running through March 31, and buy time for talks.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi

Many political experts and pundits expected in the 112th Congress that there would be gridlock with the new conservative Republicans elected in the mid-term elections. These Republicans want to eliminate 100 social programs and cut funding for 100 more. The cuts would impact programs in education, environment, health care, energy, science, the Peace Corps, and the Social Security Administration.

The Obama administration has not responded or established their position on the cuts. It is very early in the debate over the cuts, but leaks from the White House are the cuts could hurt the recovering economy. Many also believe that the cuts are too much too soon and they could cause a lost of jobs.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is urging Republicans to negotiate a compromise. “Now that House Republicans have gotten this vote out of their system, I hope they will drop the threats of shutting down the government and work with the Senate on responsible cuts that allow our nation’s economic recovery to continue,” said Reid.

Harry Reid, Senate majority leader

This issue is not going away, because everyone is passionate about their philosophy and mindset. There is validity in both side’s positions, and everyone is pointing a finger at each other. Collaboration and compromise is the way to come to an agreement, but very few are willing to give in.

The government shutdown is possible if both sides refuse to budge. Nobody wins and millions will be hurt in the process if the government shuts down.

President Obama

 Today, February 14, 2011, President Obama will present his 2012 budget to Congress. He has labeled this budget as a “middle ground”, where there are areas for investing, and specific areas will things will be cut.

There will be hard decisions that the president will have to make, because everyone in the country will be forced to make adjustments and sacrifice.

The budget is not just a collection of numbers, but it embodies the values, priorities, and aspirations of the president and his administration. President Obama has promised spending cuts that are an expression of “shared sacrifice” needed to balance a $1.3 trillion budget deficit.

The nation has projected deficits over the next decade of $12.5 trillion, so at this point our budget is in the red. It is important that the president’s budget begins to put our country on a path of sustainability, and we stop spending money that is not in the bank.

This year the president is presenting his budget, and it is expected that it will be in the area of $3.6 trillion. The president has pledged that the 2012 budget would help the United States, “live within our means while investing in our future.” Many of the political pundits interpret the term investing with spending money, and funding programs that keep our country in debt.

Nevertheless, the president will call for a five year spending freeze and no pay raises for federal workers. He will target social programs, including cuts to a home heating assistance program for low income households. He also proposes reduction in the popular Community Development Block Grant programs, and in funds for community action grants.

It is obvious that this year, President Obama has a divided Congress and he will be forced to negotiate with the Republicans in the House, who believe that the cuts don’t go far enough. The president made it clear in the State of the Union address that he wants to work with Congress with our country’s short-term and long-term fiscal challenges.

As the president said in his State of the Union address, “Now that the country is back from the brink of a potential economic collapse, our goal is to win the future by out-educating, out building, and out innovating our rivals so that we can return to robust economic and job growth.” This will not be easy, because in the inner cities the unemployment rate is anywhere in the 35% to 50% range.

Everywhere you look around the country everyone is talking about cutting programs as opposed to expanding programs. Many of these programs that are being cut impact the basic needs and necessities in poor communities. With a $1.3 trillion budget deficit, everyone will be forced to make “shared sacrifices” and it will impact everyone.

Once the budget is presented that is only the first step. Now 40 congressional committees and 24 subcommittees will debate and hold hearings on what is feasible. Some of the president’s proposals will be accepted, some will be thrown out, and others will be compromised on. The process is exhausting, and once both houses can agree, it is sent to the president for his signature.

If everything goes according to schedule and goes well, the formal federal budget for 2012 is signed by the president and goes into effect October 1, 2011. If all doesn’t go according to plan, Congress will pass a temporary spending measure known as a continuing resolution to continue funding on September 30th.

This year, Congress did not agree so the government has been running on a series of short-term continuing resolutions. Now Congress will be forced to debate another budget and the 2011 budget has not been formalized. All we can hope is that Congress can agree on something.