Morning Fizz

Deadlines

By Morning Fizz November 21, 2011

Caffeinated News & Gossip. Your daily Morning Fizz.



1. Gov. Chris Gregoire will propose a budget this morning to deal with the $1.52 billion revenue shortfall for the current biennium. Legislators got a sneak preview of her budget on October 27 when she released a list of $2 billion in suggested cuts.

The legislature already passed a $32 billion budget in May after making $4.6 billion in cuts. Starting next Monday, when the special session kicks in, they will have 30 days to pass a supplemental budget that accounts for the additional shortfall.

The proposal Gregoire announces this morning formally begins the process.

2. Speaking of deadlines: The supercommittee in D.C. that's tasked with finding $1.2 trillion by Thanksgiving is reportedly close to failure. The sticking point was revenue: The Democrats wanted more of a balance between program cuts and taxes. The Republicans stuck by a final proposal that came with a minimal amount of new revenue compared to cuts: $3 billion over ten years combined with $542 billion in cuts, a ratio of 181 to 1. The Democrats rejected that offer.[pullquote]As long as we have some Republican lawmakers who feel more enthralled with a pledge they took to a Republican lobbyist than they do to a pledge to the country to solve the problems, this is going to be hard to do.”—Sen. Patty Murray[/pullquote]

If the committee, co-chaired by US Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), fails to reach a deal, cuts to the military budget (as much as $1 trillion worth ... ouch Washington State) and social programs kick in automatically.

Also without a deal, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of 2012. The total cost of extending them all has been estimated at $3.7 trillion. Extending the tax cuts for just those who earn more than $250,000 is $800 billion of that total.

Evidently holding out hope that the Republicans would agree to taxes on the wealthy, Murray's office was not ready to give us  a statement on the status of the talks this morning. But Murray did blast the GOP on CNN. The NYT reports:
Democrats blamed the Republicans for their unwillingness to yield on a no-new-taxes pact they signed at the request of a conservative antitax group, arguing that the American public realizes that no grand deal could be reached without a combination of spending cuts and new tax revenue.

“As long as we have some Republican lawmakers who feel more enthralled with a pledge they took to a Republican lobbyist than they do to a pledge to the country to solve the problems, this is going to be hard to do,” Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington and the committee’s co-chairwoman, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

In turn, Murray's Republican co-chair, US Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) blamed the Democrats.
But Representative Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas, the co-chairman, said it was the Democrats’ inflexibility that had caused the impasse, particularly when it came to agreeing to major money-saving changes in social programs like Medicare and Social Security.

“Unfortunately, what we haven’t seen in these talks from the other side is any Democrats willing to put a proposal on the table that actually solves the problems,” Mr. Hensarling said on “Fox News Sunday.”

3. Over the weekend, the Central District News had a report on a contingent of Occupy Seattle protesters who have taken over an abandoned duplex at 23rd and Alder.
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