The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


January 23, 2013

Upcoming deadlines in debt limit, budget fights

WASHINGTON — Upcoming deadlines in this year’s budget and debt limit fight between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans:

—Feb. 4: The president is legally required to submit a budget for the upcoming fiscal year by the first Monday in February. Presidents often ignore this deadline and there is no consequence for missing it. Obama may not submit his 2014 budget until March.

—Late February or early March: When Treasury expects to exhaust its ability to draw cash from various federal accounts to pay government bills and avoid default, unless Congress — as expected — extends the government’s ability to borrow more money. Treasury technically reached the current $16.4 trillion debt limit on Dec. 31, but has been using accounting maneuvers to make payments.

—March 1: When a two-month delay expires in automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that by law were supposed to begin Jan. 1. The cuts would be for an estimated $85 billion through Sept. 30, divided evenly between defense and domestic programs. The delay was part of legislation enacted early this month that avoided spending cuts and tax increases known as the “fiscal cliff.”

—March 27:
When legislation expires that has been temporarily financing federal agencies since last fall. Unless Congress provides additional money by this date, there would be a government shutdown.

—April 15: Legal deadline for Congress completing a budget for 2014. Usually ignored, with no consequence. Congress’ budget does not need the president’s signature, and is a guide for later tax and spending bills.

—May 18: The date through which the government would be allowed to borrow money under legislation the House approved Wednesday and the Senate was expected to approve quickly. Treasury would be able to forestall default and continue paying government bills for several weeks or months beyond May 18 by using the same accounting techniques it has employed in recent weeks.


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A new provision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows qualifying districts with high percentages of students on food assistance to allow all students to eat free breakfasts and lunches. Would you agree with this provision?

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