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As expected, the House and Senate have passed another Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government operating. This one is for three weeks, meaning that agencies can keep the lights on until April 8. The President still must sign it and is expected to do so before midnight tomorrow when the current CR expires.
The CR includes $6 billion in cuts, keeping to a Republican pledge to cut $2 billion per week. The cuts primarily are from earmarks and programs President Obama already decided to cancel. NASA took a $63 million cut, but that amount was designated for earmarks in the FY2010 budget. NASA and most other agencies and departments continue to be funded at their FY2010 level.
Originally posted by buddha
ripcontrol, you leave a lot of space between your lines.
you could get a lot of words in there.
you will now when the sh/t hits the fan.
when a lot of rich people at the top disappear.
or they take the money and run...
any one now if any rich people are hiring mercenaries?
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration warned Wednesday that a federal shutdown would undermine the economic recovery, delay pay to U.S. troops fighting in three wars, slow the processing of tax returns and limit small business loans and government-backed mortgages during peak home buying season.
At the Pentagon, defense officials were finalizing plans that would lay out how the department would deal with a shutdown. But they already have acknowledged that U.S. military troops — including those in war zones — would receive one week's pay instead of two in their next paycheck if the government were to close.
Military personnel at home and abroad would continue to earn pay, but they wouldn't get paychecks until there was a budget agreement and government operations resumed.
Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the Pentagon would be open on Monday and would be staffed. He said decisions on which Defense Department employees must report to work would depend on their jobs, rather than where they were based.
Generous congressional retirement benefits are turning former lawmakers into pension millionaires. Some want to change this. But will they create a true "citizen's Congress," or just a rich person's club?
By most standards, Colorado's Pat Schroeder and Pennsylvania's Robert Walker have had long and productive careers representing their constituents in the US House of Representatives. Schroeder, a Democrat, is Congress's leading advocate for women in combat, and was an early coauthor of the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act. Walker, a Republican, has chaired the House Science Committee in the 104th Congress and is a key deputy to Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Congress has rewarded these two members well for their time and effort-perhaps, in some critics' view, too well.
When Schroeder, who was elected in 1972, retires as announced at the end of this year, she will have accumulated lifetime pension benefits of $4.18 million, according to an estimate by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. Walker, also outgoing, has served since 1976. His accumulated pension benefits will be $4.2 million, says the (slightly higher than Schroeder's due to actuarial assumptions). Both plan to take their pensions, but refuse to say what they are worth, although they contest the NTUF's calculations.
What with 35 senators and representatives having announced their retirement this term, Congress will soon be creating "pension millionaires" at a terrific clip. The 23 departing representatives stand to pick up more than $1.1 million in lifetime pension benefits, and all but four who have not yet reached the minimum retirement age of 50 can start collecting next year. Only two of 12 senators who plan to step down will collect less than $1 million (see table, page page 28).
Source and rest of article here: www.fa-ir.org...
400 retired members of Congress, who receive an average benefit of $45,000 a year, cost taxpayers about $20 million annually, says the NTUF. Future costs depend on the turnover rate: The more who leave before they reach the five-year vesting threshold, the lower the annual payouts required. Over time, congressional pensions are expected to accumulate more modestly as fewer members stay on beyond six to 12 years, according to the NTUF.
But the numbers remain generous, and have sparked a new debate over congressional retirement benefits. This poses a challenge for US lawmakers that many employers in the private sector will find all too familiar: How to scale back overgenerous pensions, without removing the inducements for talented people to seek office. Only in this case, employer and employee are one and the same.
Pressure has been building for Congress to put a damper on its generosity to itself since 1989, when it passed a 25% pay increase that boosted the base salary for both senators and representatives from $89,500 to $133,600. That big jump provoked a backlash from taxpayer and congressional reform groups, with the result that for two years straight now, members have voted not to accept their usual cost-of-living pay increases.