President: Rae Chornenky
 
Editor: Maria Jeffrey
 
This Week on the Hill: 
 
The Senate Budget Committee commences a formal markup of Senator Patty Murray's (D.-WA) budget tomorrow.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-WI) Releases Budget: Talking Points

  • The new Ryan budget will cut spending by $5.7 trillion over 10 years, instead of over 25 years like his budget last year. 
  • Ryan dispensed with the Congressional Budget Office's current budget baseline, which assumes a certain amount of spending based on spending in the past. The reason Ryan calculated his own budget baseline on which to form his budget is because the CBO baseline assumes spending for war and disasters will be reduced; Ryan did not want to make that assumption because he does not think spending on war and disasters will be reduced in the coming years. 
  • The Ryan budget reduces the top tax rate from 39.6% to 25%. 
  • The new Ryan budget increases defense spending, but not as much as his last budget. 
  • The Ryan budget reduces farm subsidies by $31 billion.
  • It ends government funding of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • It caps Pell Grants at $5,645  for 10 years.
  • To read the Ryan budget, click here
Sequester Cuts Have Begun, Life Continues

           On Friday, March 1, the sequester cuts went into effect after Congress failed to adopt a plan to stop them. In its February report, Budget and Economic Outlook for Fiscal Years 2013-2023, the Congressional Budget Office noted that the sequester cuts $44 billion from government spending this year, with $35 billion being cut from discretionary outlays and $9 billion being cut from mandatory spending. As pointed out by CNSNews.com, the federal government borrowed $253.5 billion in the month of February alone, which is six times as much as the sequester cuts this year. 
 
           On Meet the Press March 3, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH.) spoke about how certain claims about the effect of the sequester were exaggerated, specifically citing the layoffs of air traffic controllers that the Department of Homeland Security had claimed were impending. "Look at the fact that they claimed all these air traffic controllers were going to be laid off, but then it was found out they really didn't have to," Speaker Boehner said. After the first post-sequester weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that the only real delays were at Miami International Airport and John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, but "officials representing a dozen major airports said there were few if any unusual flight delays or lines at security or customs checkpoints." The Federal Aviation Administration has claimed it may have to cut overnight shifts at control towers at small and medium airports, however not only would most commercial flights be unaffected but air traffic controllers are not necessary for a safe landing. 
 
           Despite the Department of Homeland Security's warnings of what the sequester cuts would do to the agency, on February 22, 2013, the agency signed a one-year, $50 million contract with VF Imagewear, Inc., to provide new uniforms for TSA employees. Because the North American Free Trade Agreement mandates products in Mexico and other Latin American countries be considered for such contracts, some of the TSA uniforms will be manufactured in Mexico. To read more about this, click here.    
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