Tales from the Trail

Obama lets the budget ax fall — but gently

May 7, 2009

President Barack Obama has been threatening to crack down on government spending and on Thursday he let the budget ax fall — but gently.
He unveiled $17 billion in cuts as part of his administration’s budget for the 2010 fiscal year.
OBAMA/BUDGET“We can no longer afford to spend as if deficits don’t matter and waste is not our problem. We can no longer afford to leave the hard choices for the next budget, the next administration — or the next generation,” Obama said.
$17 billion.
That would be about one half of one percent of his $3.55 trillion budget.
Nearly 1.5 percent of the projected 2010 deficit.
And about $1 billion less than what President George W. Bush proposed to cut from the previous year’s budget.
By comparison, the American family with a median income of about $51,000 a year looking at a 0.5 percent budget cut would need to trim $255.

The First Draft: Details

May 7, 2009

OBAMA/The devil’s in the details, the saying goes, and we’ll find out plenty of details today about two big initiatives of the Obama administration: the budget and the bank bailout.

Republicans seek dough to help defeat Specter after his defection

April 29, 2009

Reaction among Republicans to Senator Arlen Specter’s decision to defect to the Democratic party ranged from somber disappointment to outrage, and now the Republican National Committee hopes to capitalize on that anger.

U.S. Senate goes two ways on estate taxes

April 3, 2009

The U.S. Senate went two different ways on the estate tax, which has been a contentious issue for years — a tax congressional Republicans have villified as the “death tax”.BRITAIN-RICHARDSON/

White House pulls trigger early on budget praise

April 3, 2009

G20/As the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate drew closer to wrapping up votes on their version of the fiscal 2010 budget, President Barack Obama’s staff appeared to pull the trigger a bit hastily on his congratulatory statements praising the Senate vote.

Obama chief of staff visits Congressional friends

March 26, 2009

As the Democratic-controlled House Budget Committee considered dozens of Republican amendments on the 2010 budget Wednesday night, an old friend of many lawmakers — and an enemy to a few — dropped by to say hello, catching many by surprise. 

Mod Squad infiltrates U.S. Senate budget fight

March 5, 2009

Their mission is to handcuff some of the money President Barack Obama seeks in his budget request to Congress … deficit-spending that they fear will prey on future generations.

The First Draft: Downtown Gordon Brown

March 4, 2009

That Gordon Brown, he won’t leave town. The British Prime Minister speaks to Congress at 11 a.m., where he is expected to urge lawmakers to steer clear of protectionism. OBAMA-BRITAIN/

Barack Obama’s “bring ’em on” moment?

February 28, 2009

President Barack Obama came precariously close to having a “bring ’em on” moment Saturday.
Back in 2003, when U.S. forces were struggling to establish order in Iraq, President George W. Bush USA-OBAMA/was roundly pilloried when he taunted militants plotting attacks on American troops to “bring ’em on.”
Obama, trying to push his first budget through Congress, is not feuding with Iraqi militants — he’s got his own axis of evil.
They are the powerful lobbyists and wealthy special interests who drive up healthcare costs, sponge off federal education loan money and soak up other government subsidies and tax breaks.

The First Draft: Drawdown in Iraq

February 27, 2009

President Obama makes no small plans. One day after announcing the biggest budget deficit since World War Two, Obama flies to a Marine base in North Carolina to announce a withdrawal timetable for troops in Iraq. IRAQ/