Paul Kane of the Washington Post is reporting that Congress will be facing a pivotal week on economic stimulus and spending measures. Kane writes that this negotiation is the last opportunity of the year to pass some kind of economic-stimulus package to boost the ailing economy. This will also be a decisive moment for legislation to keep the federal government running on a leaner budget for the rest of the fiscal year.
House and Senate leaders have been unable to reach an agreement on how to stimulate the economy, although both sides agree that something has to be done. President Obama pushed a payroll-tax holiday as part of his job-creation package in September. The tax provision, which is set to expire on New Year's Day, has emerged as a key stumbling block in the annual rush to approve must-have legislation before Congress adjourns for the year.
According to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid, his proposal would "create jobs, put more money in the pockets of the middle class and working families," while a GOP plan would in effect take those benefits away. House Speaker John Boehner plans to offer a competing plan, which means there will be "dueling proposals" about the matter. Both sides will also be looking at agency budgets, which over the years have been slashed drastically, a viewpoint that Boehner expressed last week.
Kane writes, "We've done most of what can be done," Boehner told reporters Thursday, suggesting that any further long-term deficit savings must come from changes in the tax code and entitlement programs.
In the words of Rodney King, can't we all just get along? Seriously, this fighting and tugging while leaving the country in a lurch is not cool. These are elected officials who should be able to work better together instead of always being at odds. Why is everything pushed to the edge? It is downright maddening and stressful on the American people, whose needs should actually come first.
Read more at the Washington Post.