Congressional and White House negotiators reached a deal in the early morning hours of April 9 to keep the federal government open one more week until Congress can pass a year-end appropriations compromise that would increase — yes, increase! — the annual deficit from last year's $1.29 trillion to $1.58 trillion for fiscal 2011. Republican and Democratic leaders touted the "cuts" in the bill because the proposed $1.58 trillion deficit in the compromise is lower than the $1.65 trillion deficit that would have resulted from passage of the White House budget proposal.
With little time remaining before a government shutdown, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 247-181 to approve a stopgap funding measure in spite of a veto threat from the White House. If approved in the Senate and signed by the President, the measure will fund the federal government through April 15, while funding the Pentagon through the end of the fiscal year on September 30.
The federal government may endure a partial shutdown some time after midnight Friday, April 8 because House Republicans can not come to agreement on spending levels for the rest of the fiscal year with Senate Democrats and President Obama. But what is the disagreement over?
When launching his military intervention into the Libyan civil war, President Barack Obama undoubtedly expected some resistance from Republicans in Congress. On the other hand, he probably did not count on members of his own party joining the GOP in opposing the operation, but that is precisely what is happening.
Former U.S. Army Lieutenant and lawyer Brandon Mayfield may be the Patriot Act’s most prominent innocent victim. The federal government imposed warrantless surveillance and a “sneak-and-peek” search of his home upon the innocent U.S. citizen and Muslim convert and arrested him on a “material witness” warrant, even though officials never intended to have him testify in court. In fact, Mayfield was under investigation for supposedly having had a role in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, as the FBI initially identified him (using his military service fingerprints) as one of the persons whose fingerprints were on a bag of bomb parts similar to those used in the bombing.