federal budget

James DeMers

In a 219 to 206 vote, Congress approved the FY 2015 omnibus spending plan that continues to fund the government. President Obama had urged lawmakers to pass the $1.1 trillion package, despite the White House’s disagreement with two particular inclusions; a provision that would repeal a portion of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reforms and a measure to increase the limit on campaign contributions by single donors.

Tax Credits, flickr

The December 13th deadline for a bipartisan federal budget deal to avoid another partial government shutdown in January is a week away.  Negotiators, headed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan—a Republican and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray—a Democrat, appear to be making progress.   WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Jo Comerford, Executive Director of the National Priorities Project—a Northampton-based research center.

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, Goddard Space Flight Center

The budget debate in Washington has Great Lakes advocates calling foul and lobbying for a turnabout in a proposed funding cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

WIkimedia Commons / Alexander Marks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service says it plans to stop delivering mail on Saturdays, but continue delivering packages six days a week.

In an announcement scheduled for later today, the service is expected to say the cut, beginning in August, would mean a cost saving of about $2 billion annually.

The move accentuates one of the agency's strong points — package delivery has increased by 14 percent since 2010. The delivery of letters and other mail has declined with the increasing use of email and other Internet use.

Congress avoided the automatic tax increases and budget cuts of the dreaded fiscal cliff at the last minute this week with a deal that raises tax rates on individuals with incomes over $400,000 and couples making $450,000.