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Seth McLaughlin

Seth McLaughlin, a reporter on the Politics Desk, can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SethMcLaughlin1

Articles by Seth McLaughlin

Hill economist gets hosannas and hoots

Mark Zandi, Moody's Analytics chief economist, has become an oracle of sorts on Capitol Hill, where members of both parties have recited his financial forecasts in an attempt to seize the high ground in battles over stimulus packages, deficit reduction plans and the tax cuts enacted during the George W. Bush administration. Published December 9, 2010

Debt commission falls short on test vote

President Obama’s high-profile debt commission Friday fell three votes short of the support it needed to forward a far-reaching deficit reduction plan to Congress, with 11 of the 18 members voting to back the proposal. A supermajority of 14 votes was needed to formally endorse the blueprint. Published December 3, 2010

Support erodes for deficit panel plan

Six members of President Obama's deficit commission are expected to vote on Friday against its final report, meaning the panel will not be able to submit any recommendations to Congress for action. Published December 2, 2010

**FILE** Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican (Associated Press)

Deficit plan gains new support

Two top Republicans on the president's high-profile deficit reduction commission said Thursday they will support the blueprint rolled out this week by the panel's co-chairmen — edging the plan closer to garnering the support it needs to be forwarded to Congress. Published December 2, 2010

ASSOCIATED PRESS
FOR IT: Sens. Kent Conrad (right), North Dakota Democrat, and Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, the top two lawmakers on the president's deficit-reduction panel, endorsed its recommendations Wednesday.

Deficit panel leaders upbeat

The chairmen of President Obama's deficit-reduction commission said members are halfway to securing the support they need to forward their recommendations of unpopular spending cuts and tax increases to Congress, where Democratic leaders have vowed to hold a vote before the end of the lame-duck session. Published December 1, 2010

Deficit panel's plan a mix of sweeping cuts, tax increases

Warning that the nation is on an unsustainable fiscal path, the co-chairmen of President Obama's deficit reduction commission rolled out a final plan this morning that challenges lawmakers to put politics aside and to embrace a series of unpopular spending cuts and tax increases to get the "crushing debt burden off our backs." Published December 1, 2010

Vote on deficit-slashing measures delayed

The leaders of President Obama's independent deficit commission said Tuesday they'll delay a vote on their recommendations until the end of the week in order to give members a chance to digest their revamped plan. Published November 30, 2010

ASSOCIATED PRESS
David Stockman, budget director for President Reagan, sees tough decisions for President Obama's deficit commission as it prepares a final report.

Value-added tax, or VAT, back as proposal to solve revenue ills

Seven months after the Senate knocked down the idea of a value-added tax, the VAT is back on the table -- one of a host of familiar proposals that has been recycled as a proposed answer to the nation's financial problems. Published November 29, 2010

Hill pressured to kill 'death tax'

Anti-tax and family advocacy groups are pressuring lawmakers not to breathe new life into the "death tax" — a levy on personal fortunes that was taken off the books this year, but is scheduled to return at a higher rate in 2011. Published November 23, 2010

Tax cuts, federal budget await Congress' return from holiday

Coming off an election in which voters unleashed their fury over Washington's perceived inability to grapple with tough issues, lawmakers spent much of the first week of the lame-duck session going after low-hanging fruit while leaving a number of big-ticket items on the table. Published November 22, 2010

Debt commission co-chairman predicts 'bloodbath'

A leader of President Obama’s bipartisan deficit-reduction commission on Friday predicted that there will be a “bloodbath” on Capitol Hill next year when lawmakers consider increasing the nation’s debt ceiling, which could force both parties to take their recommendations seriously. Published November 19, 2010

Democrats to push for end of 'don't ask, don't tell' now

The push to end the policy barring openly gay men and women from serving in the military has new life on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have announced plans to push forward with their efforts despite opposition from most Republicans. Published November 18, 2010

Democrats call for vote on gays in military

Sen. Joseph Lieberman said party leaders are the last remaining obstacles to a vote that would likely lead to the repeal the policy barring open gays from serving in the military. Published November 18, 2010

U.S. Congress
Sen. Peter V. Domenici, co-chairman of the task force, calls the growing deficit "a quiet killer."

Bipartisan panel urges tax breaks, spending cuts

A bipartisan task force on Wednesday called for Congress and President Obama to enact a Social Security payroll tax holiday and a "debt-reduction sales tax" as part of a sweeping plan aimed at getting the government's financial house in order. Published November 17, 2010

Senate GOP curtails earmarks

Senate Republicans on Tuesday voted to ban "pork-barrel" spending as a couple of Democrats rushed to join the fight on a politically potent issue that has enraged voters and helped give rise to the GOP's "tea party"-infused midterm election victories. Published November 16, 2010

McConnell agrees to temporary earmark ban

Bowing to political pressure from conservatives in his party and to voter anxiety over the federal budget, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday reversed course and supported a temporary ban on earmarks in order to show he is serious about cutting federal spending. Published November 15, 2010

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican

McConnell backs earmark ban

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday he will support an earmark ban in the Senate Republican conference, a move that appears to leave House Democrats as the sole supporters of pork-barrel spending. Published November 15, 2010

Lame-duck Congress to confront agenda of competing demands

Lawmakers returning Monday for the start of the lame-duck session on Capitol Hill face an age-old political conundrum: How to respond to voter anger over federal spending without cutting into the entitlement programs and tax breaks that so many of their constituents enjoy. Published November 11, 2010

Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican (AP Photo)

GOP senators ask colleagues to back ban on earmarks

A group of Senate conservatives issued an early challenge to their Republican colleagues, calling on them in an open letter to support a ban on earmarks — a stance the House GOP embraced earlier this year. Published November 9, 2010

Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, could face a "tea party" primary challenger from the right in 2012. (Associated Press)

Maine's Snowe next 'tea party' target?

Republicans last week painted the country's northeastern corner red last week, grabbing control of the state House, Senate and governor's mansion in Maine for the first time in more than four decades in a stunning electoral sweep. Published November 8, 2010