debt-limit

Obama Pitches Budget's Cybersecurity Plan — At Length

Copies of Obama's fiscal 2017 federal budget are seen for sale Tuesday at the U.S. Government Publishing Office in Washington. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

After submitting his final spending plan to Congress on Tuesday, President Barack Obama touted his record and delivered a sales pitch for nearly $20 billion he says is needed to secure America’s cyber-footprint, a perhaps unexpected but entirely needed push, he said.  

Obama is pitching a 35 percent hike in cybersecurity funding across the sprawling federal apparatus, saying the United States is increasingly at risk to attacks on its information infrastructure.  

Obama Urges 'Better Politics' to Tackle Challenges

"Democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens,” Obama told Congress and a nationwide audience. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama used his last State of the Union address to prod both Congress and the American people, saying America’s political system needs an overhaul if the country is to successfully tackle a list of “challenges.”  

In an unique address to a joint session of Congress, Obama laid out a mostly optimistic vision for a United States, one he said should be followed long after he leaves office to provide “prosperity and security for generations to come.”  

White House Casts Budget Deal as Jobs Engine

President Barack Obama (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House is describing a budget and debt deal it struck with congressional leaders as a job-creation engine, a day before a key Senate vote on the measure.  

The Obama administration used a statement about gross domestic product growth during the third quarter of 2015 to predict the sweeping fiscal plan would create "an estimated 340,000 jobs in 2016." The Senate is on track for a Friday procedural vote on the deal after the House passed it , with mostly Democratic votes, on Wednesday.  

Going Quiet: White House 'Reserve' Helped Ink Deal

Boehner, left, and Obama have tried before to cut budget deals. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The White House was remarkably tight-lipped during talks with congressional leaders that produced a sweeping fiscal accord, and lawmakers say that silence helped the negotiators reach a deal that had so often eluded them.  

Obama administration officials turned to Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan to lead talks with departing Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Many experts identified hurdles and predicted failure.  

November Social Security Checks Could Hinge on Debt Deal

Lew makes his way to a lunch with Senate Democrats in the Capitol earlier this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lawmakers have another reason to move quickly to address the debt ceiling: senior citizens.  

Thursday's update to the timing that the Treasury Department says the country will go past the nation's borrowing authority in 19 days raises questions about November's Social Security checks.  

Senate Economist Warns Debt Limit Fight Could Raise Interest Rates

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has warned the debt limit must be raised by Nov. 5. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House push for a debt limit hike got some ammunition Friday from the chief economist for the Senate Budget Committee, who warned failure to increase the limit soon could cause interest rates to rise on newly issued federal debt.  

In a budget bulletin, economist William Beach, who formerly worked at the Heritage Foundation, warns the nation risks higher borrowing costs if it even gets close to exhausting the extraordinary measures used to avoid hitting the debt limit, now pegged by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew as occurring on or about Nov. 5 , about a month earlier than expected. The new date has the effect of making it a must-do item for outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, as he goes about cleaning up a "dirty barn" for his successor. Options for Boehner include passing a straight-up debt limit hike, attaching it to a must-pass deal on transportation due by the end of the month, or some other combination. Tying it to anything opposed by President Barack Obama risks a default crisis given that Obama has repeatedly warned he will not pay a ransom again after agreeing to hand Boehner north of $2 trillion in spending cuts for a debt limit hike in 2011.