Federal Budget

The U.S. Department of Defense has included an order of 16 F/A 18 Super Hornets in their budget for the next two years.
(via Boeing)

The new U.S. Department of Defense budget request could provide breathing room for Boeing production in St. Louis. 

Provided by Boeing

While Senate Republicans had hoped to consider 12 separate appropriations bills to fund the government after winning the majority this year, lawmakers are once again dealing with a massive government funding package. The $1.1 trillion bill is expected to win final congressional approval Friday, but just in case a last-minute snag develops, President Obama has already signed a stop-gap funding measure to keep the government operating until next Tuesday.

U.S. Capitol
Phil Roeder | Flickr

Area House Republicans split their votes on the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, designed to protect against a federal government shutdown prior to next year’s elections. The compromise, negotiated in secret between the White House and congressional leaders ahead of Speaker John Boehner’s planned departure this week, passed largely on Democratic votes: 266 to 167.

A Ferguson police officer and police dog stand by a police vehicle outside the Ferguson Police Department.
File photo by Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The federal government is giving Missouri money to help law enforcement agencies cover some of the costs associated with paying overtime for officers who responded to the violence in Ferguson in the days following the shooting death of Michael Brown.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says the $1,011,433 in grants will go to the Missouri Department of Public Safety “and then they’ll decide how to divide that up among the various police organizations that have expended money and resources as a result of what happened in Ferguson.”

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin
Official photo

The divisions among House Republicans over the funding of Planned Parenthood that contributed to Speaker John Boehner’s decision to step down next month will not force a government shutdown this week, according to Ballwin Republican Ann Wagner.

National Human Genome Research Institute

The National Institutes of Health would see its largest increase in funding in more than a decade under a plan being considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday. It is set to take up a $153 billion spending plan approved earlier this week by the subcommittee that oversees funding for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.  That plan includes a $2 billion  increase for NIH.

(via Flickr/Cliff1066tm)

As expected, the U.S. Senate has approved the compromise budget deal and sent it on to President Barack Obama for his expected signature.

The final Senate vote was 64-36.  U. S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., was among only three Republicans who had voted on Tuesday in favor of allowing the final vote – but then voted against the budget deal.

Blunt earlier had said he had  objections to the compromise’s provisions, including cuts in some veterans’ pensions and reduced payments to Medicare providers, including physicians.


In the wake of the U.S. House vote on the federal budget, and looking ahead to the delayed vote for the Farm Bill and the future defense budget, Illinois Congressman Bill Enyart (D - Belleville) spoke with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh yesterday by phone.

Here's what he had to say on a few subjects.

On his vote for the 2014 budget proposal, which passed in the House December 12.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Senator Blunt | Flickr

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has announced that he’s voting against the compromise budget deal, despite his comments a few days ago in which he urged U.S. House members to ignore conservative groups’ calls to defeat the measure.

Blunt telegraphed his intentions Tuesday morning via Twitter: "There’s no reason to block an up or down vote on the budget agreement, but I will vote NO on final passage."

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Senator Blunt | Flickr

Updated 6:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12

By a vote of 332-94, the U.S. House overwhelmingly backed a compromise two-year budget deal Thursday night -- in effect, rejecting pressure from conservative groups staunchly opposed to the measure.

The Senate is expected to swiftly follow suit.

Those in the House backing the bill included U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, who appeared on CNBC's "Kudlow Report" after the vote to laud the budget deal's provisions as "gifts that will keep on giving."

(via Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill)

Updated at 1:43 p.m., Thurs., Dec. 12

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she’ll go online within a week to sign up for health insurance on the federal exchange – but she won’t be taking the federal subsidy to help cover the cost.

“I’m not going to take the ‘employer contribution,’ “ McCaskill told Missouri reporters during a conference call Wednesday, referring to the federal government’s share of the health insurance premiums for all federal employees.  She added that her staff will take the subsidy, as most other federal employees will do.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The national parks are open again. Panda Cam remained down after the shutdown, because of too much demand. (Let the record show that the editor had to check to make certain it was working.) Hundreds of thousands of federal employees are back at their jobs. In the end, the economic cost of closing the federal government for a few weeks has been estimated in the tens of billions. However, this only represents an insignificant dip in the GDP in the long run.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Since President Barack Obama signed legislation reopening the federal government and raising the nation’s debt ceiling, some St. Louis-based institutions are getting back to normal.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – Even though President Barack Obama’s new budget tosses some bones to deficit hawks in an effort to loosen the debt deadlock, congressional Republicans gave few indications that they would be willing to compromise on his demand for revenue hikes.

While some Democrats praised the budget, many liberals, including U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, said they would fight one of the main budget concessions: the White House's proposal to use a less generous measure of inflation (“chained CPI”) to calculate cost-of-living increases for beneficiaries of many federal programs, including most Social Security recipients.

(File Photo/Originally from Steelman's website)

Missouri's Republican U.S. Senate primary is only one day old, and Sarah Steelman already is criticizing Todd Akin over federal spending decisions.

Steelman on Wednesday criticized Akin for voting for a "weak-kneed budget compromise" last month among House Republicans and President Barack Obama that cut $38 billion in spending.

Steelman says Akin should have held out for the full $100 billion in cuts originally sought by House Republicans. She called Akin and congressional Republicans "toothless dragons."

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Reporting from WBEZ's Tony Arnold used in this report.

Illinois' two U.S. senators are saying party leaders are trying to avoid a government shut down. Lawmakers are facing a Friday deadline to finalize the federal budget.

Illinois' senior U.S. senator, Democrat Dick Durbin, said budget negotiations with House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner are close to wrapping up.

(Wikimedia Commons/Online Guide to House Members and Senators)

Though he says a government shutdown would be "tragic," Missouri Democrat William Lacy Clay says he doesn't expect Republicans and Democrats to be able to reach an agreement on a budget for this year before a temporary spending plan expires next Friday.

The extension is the sixth since the federal budget expired in September 2010. And Clay says the U.S. House is in "total disarray," with Congressional Republicans choosing to advance policies simply to hurt the Obama administration.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri is blaming the current federal budget deadlock on the last Congress.

The Senate on Wednesday rejected a budget proposal approved by the Republican-controlled House, as well as an alternative favored by Democrats. Blunt, a Republican from Springfield, says the new Congress did not create this environment; the previous one, controlled by Democrats, did.