Government News

  • The House has approved the debt ceiling and budget cuts package, sending it to the Senate. President Joe Biden negotiated the deal with Speaker Kevin McCarthy to avert a U.S. default crisis. They worked to assemble a coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans to push it to approval over blowback from conservatives and some progressives. The U.S. was facing a potentially disastrous default in less than a week if Congress failed to act. Despite deep disappointment from hard-right Republicans that budget cuts don't go far enough, it was approved on a bipartisan House vote with Democrats. The Senate is expected to act quickly by the end of the week.

    May 31, 2023
  • Even with new spending restraints included in the congressional debt limit deal, the U.S. government’s deficits are still on course to keep climbing to record levels over the next few decades. The projections are a sign that the two-year truce between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy might be only a pause before a far more wrenching set of showdowns over the federal budget. Why will the debt likely keep rising? It is due to the growing costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says. But both Biden and McCarthy ruled out any Social Security and Medicare cuts before this round of budget negotiations really got going.

    May 30, 2023
  • The debt ceiling deal has come with just days to spare before a potential first-ever government default. On Sunday, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached a final agreement and they are urging Congress to quickly pass it. Biden pronounced the development “good news” in remarks at the White House announcing the agreement. This followed a tentative compromise announced late Saturday. The deal risks angering some Democratic and Republican lawmakers as they begin to unpack the concessions, which include spending cuts. McCarthy and Biden spoke Sunday evening as negotiators drafted legislative text. They face a June 5 deadline when Treasury says the U.S. would risk a debt default.

    May 28, 2023
  • Vice President Kamala Harris has become the first woman to deliver a commencement speech at West Point. In her address, the vice president lauded graduating cadets for their noble sacrifice in serving their country. But she noted an “unsettled world” because of Russian aggression and the rising threats that China poses. Some 950 men and women took part in the graduation ceremony. While Harris visits West Point, New York, President Joe Biden heads to Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Thursday to dole out advice to graduates at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Earlier this month, the president was the commencement orator at Howard University, his vice president’s alma mater.

    May 27, 2023
  • An upbeat President Joe Biden says a deal to resolve the government’s debt ceiling crisis seems “very close." He spoke late Friday, shortly after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen pushed the deadline for a potentially catastrophic default back to June 5. That announcement seemed likely to drag negotiations between the White House and Republicans into another frustrating week. House Republicans led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy spent the day negotiating by phone and computers with the White House. One Republican negotiator, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, called Biden’s comments “a hopeful sign” but also cautioned that there’s still “sticky points” impeding a final agreement.

    May 26, 2023
  • The Air Force fighter pilot tapped to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff got his call sign by ejecting from a burning F-16 fighter jet high above the Florida Everglades and falling into the watery sludge below. It was January 1991, and then-Capt. CQ Brown Jr. had just enough time in his parachute above alligator-full wetlands. He landed in the muck, which coated his body. That's how the man nominated to be the country’s next top military officer got his call sign: “Swamp Thing.” President Joe Biden announced he was nominating Brown for the chairman's job during a Rose Garden event on Thursday.

    May 25, 2023
  • House Republicans passed a resolution on Wednesday that would overturn President Joe Biden’s student loan cancellation plan, but the measure faces an uncertain path in the Senate, and the White House has vowed to veto it. It adds to the GOP’s ongoing attack on Biden’s one-time student loan cancellation, which was halted in November in response to lawsuits from conservative opponents. The Supreme Court is now weighing the plan after hearing arguments in February. Biden’s plan would cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loans for 43 million Americans. About 26 million had applied for the relief before federal courts intervened.

    May 24, 2023
  • There's a new leader at America's National Archives. President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Archives was confirmed Wednesday after a partisan battle over the agency’s role in the investigation into sensitive documents seized at Donald Trump’s Florida home. The Senate confirmed Colleen Shogan as archivist in a 52-45 vote. Republicans mostly opposed her nomination and sought to portray the National Archives as weaponized against Trump. Shogan stressed that she has not been involved in the ongoing investigations into Trump’s handling of presidential records and promised she won't bring a partisan mindset to the job.

    May 10, 2023
  • President Joe Biden is expected to announce Air Force Gen. CQ Brown Jr. to serve as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Brown is a history-making fighter pilot with years of experience in shaping U.S. defenses to meet China's rise. If confirmed by the Senate, Brown would replace the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, whose term ends in October. It would be the first time that both the Pentagon’s top military and civilian positions were held by African Americans. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is the Pentagon’s current top civilian.

    May 05, 2023
  • The Biden administration will send 1,500 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border amid an expected migrant surge following the end of coronavirus pandemic-era restrictions. The White House says the troops will be sent to focus on administrative tasks so that U.S. Customs and Border Protection can work in the field. The troops will not do law enforcement work. President Joe Biden’s actions follow similar moves by then-President Donald Trump, who deployed active-duty troops to the border to assist border patrol, on top of National Guard forces that were already there, in processing large migrant caravans.

    May 02, 2023
  • President Joe Biden has signed an executive order that would create the White House Office of Environmental Justice. The president says ” The White House says the Democratic administration wants to ensure poverty, race and ethnic status don't lead to worse exposure to pollution and environmental harm. Biden wants to draw a contrast between his agenda and that of Republicans. GOP lawmakers have called for less regulation of oil production to lower energy prices. The Biden administration says the GOP's policies would surrender the renewable energy sector to the Chinese.

    April 21, 2023
  • A federal watchdog is investigating whether the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration under chief Anne Milgram improperly awarded millions of dollars in no-bid contracts to hire her past associates. Among the spending under scrutiny by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General is $4.7 million for “strategic planning and communication” and other contracts that were used to hire people Milgram knew from her days as New Jersey’s attorney general and as a New York University law professor – at costs far exceeding pay for government officials. DEA declined to comment specifically but said in a statement it has acted to “set a new vision.”

    April 19, 2023
  • President Joe Biden has signed an executive order containing more than 50 directives to increase access to child care and improve the work life of caregivers. But the White House said Tuesday the directives in the order would be funded out of existing commitments. That likely means the directives' impact would be limited and they'd carry more of a symbolic weight. The Democratic president was more ambitious in 2021 by calling to provide $425 billion to expand child care, improve its affordability and boost wages for caregivers. White House Domestic Policy Council director Susan Rice says the order shows Biden isn’t waiting on Congress to act.

    April 18, 2023
  • Democrats’ efforts to temporarily replace California Sen. Dianne Feinstein on the Senate Judiciary Committee are meeting quick opposition from some Republicans. Feinstein last week asked to be temporarily replaced on the Senate Judiciary Committee while she recuperates in her home state from a case of the shingles. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday that he is moving forward, but it’s unclear if Democrats will have the votes. Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and Marsha Blackburn both indicated they would object. The Judiciary Committee handles nomination to the federal courts. Several of President Joe Biden's judicial nominees are on hold due to Feinstein's medical absence.

    April 17, 2023