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Spending, Big and Small

The new 113th Congress has gotten into full swing, and recent happenings illustrate nicely the operatic drama and controversy that Washington, D.C. can produce, and also the quiet day-to-day. We’re talking about spending, big and small. First, the high drama. House Republicans are going after President Obama this week, seeking to focus attention on the […]


There’s something going on in Washington, D.C.—something unusual, but something we might be able to explain. Congress is being boring. That’s right. The last few weeks, both the House and Senate have taken up relatively mundane bills. Nothing has generated much interest or heat. The knives are sheathed. Things are quiet. We’re in a lull. […]

Being Presidential

A couple of interesting things have happened over the last few weeks that offer an insight into professional politics. It’s all about the spin, baby. First, consider this: It is pretty much optional for a president to get involved in a weather event like Hurricane Irene. Oh, maybe there’s some political risk to not being […]

Obama v. Ryan: You Decide

President Obama gave a speech yesterday in which he articulated his vision for deficit reduction. It’s his answer to the “Ryan budget” which the House of Representatives will likely pass this week. Ideally, President Obama’s plan would have been in his original budget, introduced earlier this year, but he’s taken a “do-over.” That’s better than […]

And Then There’s the House Conservatives’ Budget

That’s H.Con. Res. 37. We’ll update you when the text of the plan, and thus our cost estimate, is available, but a release from Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) has the following summary information about the Republican Study Committee (“RSC”) budget: While the Ryan budget leaves Social Security largely untouched, the RSC plan proposes to strengthen […]

The GOP Can Eclipse Obama on Transparency

Your humble webmaster has a piece in Politico today talking about new rules in the House of Representatives that call for greater transparency. Highlights: During his first two years in office, the president generated a lot of heat in the transparency area — but little sunlight. House Republicans can quickly outshine Obama and the Democratic […]

Earmarks — Will Senate Republicans Swear Them Off or Not?

[Update: Senate Republicans likely to forswear earmarks.] Next Tuesday (11/16), the Senate Republican Conference will meet to organize themselves for the new Congress, which starts in January. Among the issues on the table: whether they will continue to seek earmarks. As Politico reports: Last March, two dozen Senate Republicans joined South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint […]


President Obama is in India for a few days at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Among the party traveling with him are the first lady, National Security Adviser Tom Donillon, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Administrator of USAID Rajiv Shah, and many business people […]

Drill, Baby, Dr—Hold it!

Just a month ago, President Obama came out with a plan to allow some offshore drilling and reject some other planned drilling. The oil spill in the Gulf Coast could throw all this planning into disarray, but it doesn’t look like the president is ready to back away from drilling. The United States relies heavily […]

Fiscal Responsibility Starts Today!

Errr, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, that is. It meets for the first time today. President Obama created the commission in February to “improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run.” If you want to get an idea of what they’re working on, […]