Categories
Politics

Congress Almost Passes a Bill

Washington – Half of the 113th of the United States passed a budget bill this week, a feat many thought impossible just a short time ago. The accomplishment has led many to hope the full Congress might pass an actual piece of legislation.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 was the result of an agreement reached between Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican, and Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington. It funds the government for the next two years, thereby eliminating the threat of another government shutdown in the near future.

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National

Hackers Break into Congressional Computer System, Balance Budget

Washington – An unidentified group of hackers broke into computers used by members of the United States Congress and their staffs, and while in the system managed to balance the federal budget, according to several FBI agents and other law enforcement officials.

No one has yet taken responsibility for the attack, which resulted in what many economists are hailing as a “sensible, balanced budget,” with no other apparent damage to government computers or data.

If adopted, the budget could put an end to a bitter fight over whether or not the United States should raise the so-called “debt ceiling,” in addition to solving several other thorny budgetary and fiscal issues.

“This is a strange hack, because it looks like all they wanted to do was get in there and balance the budget,” said an FBI agent, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because the case is still under investigation. “There was no malicious software put on any of the computers, no information was apparently stolen — just a balanced budget left on the screens of all the congressional computers for everyone to see when they got into work today.”

Categories
Business/Economy

Obama Lobs Fruit at Geithner During White House Budget Meeting

Washington – During a meeting on the 2010 budget at the White House Monday, President Obama repeatedly threw various pieces of fruit at Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, according to several people who attended the meeting.

Categories
Politics

Miscommunicated Talking Points Cause Republicans to Condemn ‘Hairless Spending’

Washington – In what is assumed to be a miscommunication in the relaying of the day’s talking points, several prominent Republicans each condemned what they referred to as “hairless spending” proposed by President Obama. Members from both houses of Congress made public appearances and gave television interviews in which they used the term.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared in front of reporters at the Capitol this morning, and said, “The problem with this budget, as I see it, is that it reveals a love of spending on the part of this president. Not just a love for spending, but a love of unnecessary spending, hairless spending.” Reporters asked what Mr. McConnell meant by “hairless spending,” and he said, “I mean just what I said. This president has shown that he loves spending. He loves unnecessary spending, and he loves hairless spending. I don’t really see how I could be more clear about it.”

Several hours later, House Minority Leader John Boehner appeared on the CBS Evening News, and in an interview with host Katie Couric, repeated the phrase. “Well, Republicans, Katie, are just not big fans of this much spending,” Mr. Boehner said. “But this president seems to be in love with spending. With unnecessary spending, with hairless spending. And that’s just not what we need right now.”

Ms. Couric appeared confused, and asked if perhaps the minority leader meant “careless spending.” “No, Katie,” Mr. Boehner replied with a smile, “you’re not going to put words in my mouth. I said what I said because I meant it. This spending is hairless, Katie. Hairless and unnecessary.”

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner, later acknowledged that there had, in fact, been a miscommunication, but that it was on the part of anyone who thought Mr. Boehner had said “hairless spending” when referring to Mr. Obama’s proposed budget. “Obviously Leader Boehner was not speaking about spending that has no hair on it,” Mr. Steel said. “He was misunderstood, and clearly said ‘careless spending’ when referring to the bloated budget proposed by President Obama. Perhaps people who heard ‘hairless spending’ need to get their ears cleaned. I’m sure there’s some money in the Obama budget for that.”

Categories
Business/Economy

Obama Asks Biden How $10 Million for Skittles Got Into Budget

Washington – During a closed-door meeting Sunday, President Barack Obama asked Vice President Joe Biden what he knew about how a provision allocating $10 million to the purchase of Skittles, a popular candy, made its way into Mr. Obama’s proposed budget. The two men had just given a press briefing regarding health care initiatives, and an active microphone was left behind in the room. Therefore, a portion of the meeting was recorded.

“Joe, I’m just going to ask you flat out,” Mr. Obama is heard saying. “Did you put that provision in there? The Skittles thing?”

“Me? No. No way, Chief,” Biden said. “I would never.”

“Well, someone put it in there, Joe. And it wasn’t me.”

“Well, you know, now that you mention it,” Biden said, “I did see [Chief of Staff Rahm] Emanuel looking through the budget pretty intently. And he had a kind of look in his eye. Like maybe he wanted to do something. You know?”

“Uh huh,” Mr. Obama replied.

“Plus, plus, I happen to know he has a huge sweet tooth. Emanuel. Like a junkie with the candy and stuff like that. Can’t get enough.”

“Joe, you have Skittles in your pocket right now,” Mr. Obama pointed out. “They’re falling out. I can see them.”

“What, these? Oh, yeah, but I’m… I’m holding these for him. For Emanuel. They’re not mine,” Biden said. “See, that’s what I’m saying. He stashes this stuff everywhere!”

“Joe, this is just really sad,” Mr. Obama said. The microphone was apparently discovered at that point, and switched off or taken from the room. The last audible snippet is Mr. Biden saying, “Mr. President, if I was going to eat any candy, it’d be the Charleston Chew. Now, that’s a candy.” But a White House aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, said that he believes Mr. Biden did eventually confess to inserting the provision into the budget.

“My assumption is that Vice President Biden must have broken down and admitted what he did at some point,” the aide said. “The president can be very persistent. But beyond that, everyone knew it was Joe, because the slip of paper he inserted into the budget document still had the ‘From the Desk of Joe Biden’ thing at the top of it. So it wasn’t really a tough case to crack.”