William Katz:  Urgent Agenda






ECONOMIC DISASTER? – AT 8:38 A.M. ET:  Because of federal budget cuts built into past legislation, the Pentagon faces drastic cuts shortly, cuts that will impact defense industries and huge numbers of jobs.  Hey, welcome to competence.   From The Hill: 

The clock has all but run out on the defense industry's efforts to stave off billions in looming budget cuts under sequestration.

At the Pentagon, administration officials have given Defense Department number crunchers the green light to begin planning for the $500 billion in budget cuts set to go into effect in January.

Weeks of intense, last-minute negotiations between Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Barack Obama on a potential deal to avoid January’s “fiscal cliff” of looming tax hikes and automatic spending cuts appeared to come to an unceremonious end last Thursday.

After a furious effort to draw GOP support for his "Plan B" tax proposal, the Ohio Republican was forced to pull his bill from the floor, unable to secure the 218 votes needed for passage.

Boehner's defeat at the hands of his own party draws the curtain on a multimillion-dollar campaign by top defense industry lobbyists and interest groups to gin up opposition to the sequestration plan.

While lawmakers and the White House may still craft a bargain by year's end, most in the defense industry are showing pessimism.

"I don’t think anything [will] happen now," the source said about further efforts at a compromise.

The pervasive message of doom and gloom over the fiscal impact of sequestration that came from the U.S defense sector largely fell on deaf ears on Capitol Hill, according to one defense industry source.

Defense company executives expressed frustration at being pushed aside in the deficit talks between President Obama and congressional leaders, where attention has centered on the fate of the Bush-era tax rates that are set to expire in January.

COMMENT:  When the layoffs start, watch Washington wake up.  Those are real votes.

December 26, 2012