federal budget

Ross Reynolds talks with Sen. Patty Murray about the new bipartisan budget deal she constructed with Rep. Paul Ryan.

Flickr Photo/binw.marketing

The fiscal year ends September 30 and without a budget agreement before that the government could face a shutdown. We’ve heard the threat many times before and you may not be taking it seriously. But whether or not the shutdown occurs, government agencies are spending time and tax dollars now preparing for the shutdown-apocalypse.

Joining us with a look at how the planning process is affecting one federal agency here in Seattle is Jenny Durkan. She's the US attorney for the Western District of Washington.

The Republican-controlled House has voted to keep the government funded but its "continuing resolution" comes with a poison pill to defund the Affordable Care Act that Democrats have vowed is dead on arrival in the Senate.

In Washington, DC they’re called earmarks: the money members of Congress put in the budget for projects back home. In Washington state, there’s a more genteel term: member requests.

Flickr Photo/Army Medicine

Correction 7/8/2013: A previous version of this story contained an error. Furloughs begin Monday, July 8, not Friday, July 12.

Beginning Monday, more than 2,600 civilian employees at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma will begin mandatory one-day-a-week furloughs.

The furloughs are a result of the federal spending cuts known as sequestration.

Sequestration: The First Cut Isn't The Deepest

May 23, 2013

Even though you might not have heard much about it these past few weeks, the sequester is still chopping away at federal funds. This week Washington state emergency unemployment benefits are being cut by almost 25 percent. Ross Reynolds spoke with Johnny Dwyer, one of the 40,ooo people being affected by these drastic reductions to unemployment benefits, about how he is coping and what he hopes for. 

National Train Day: An Update On Northwest Rail Lines

May 10, 2013
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Tomorrow is Amtrak’s National Train Day, a holiday that was started back in 2008 to celebrate US passenger trains. Here in Seattle, the King Street station was recently renovated with the help of funds from the federal government. But starting in October, the feds are cutting funding to Amtrak lines that are less than 750 miles long. The effects of the change will be felt here. Ross gets the details from Ron Pate of the state Transportation Department’s rail division.

We also hear from Sound Transit spokeswoman Kimberly Reason about the Sounder Train and Light Rail projects. Plus, Ross talks trains with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton.

The U.S. Postal Service has backed off a plan to halt Saturday mail delivery, saying that Congress has forced it to continue the service despite massive cost overruns.

In a statement released Wednesday, the USPS Board of Governors said restrictive language included in the latest Continuing Resolution, which keeps the government operating until September in lieu of a budget, prevents it from going ahead with the plan.

As the date of the sequestration nears, fingers continue to get pointed, but what if political infighting is really the fault of the constituents? Ross Reynolds talks with New York Times Washington Bureau Chief David Leonhardt about why he thinks it is the constituents that are to blame for the looming across-the-board budget cuts.

The Northwest's public universities pull in massive amounts of federal research dollars. It totaled $1 billion last year at the University of Washington. Oregon State University won close to $200 million in federal research funds. The University of Idaho is counting on $100 million this year. So it's no surprise that university administrators are hanging on every scrap of news about imminent automatic federal budget cuts.

Can We Still Afford Higher Ed?

Feb 13, 2013
Higher ed
Flickr illustration/Curtis Cronn

Recent debate over the future of the state's pre-paid tuition program and the continually rising cost of college raises a larger question: Who is going to pay for a college education? It used to be that Washington state paid most of the cost of a public university degree. Today, students must find most of the funds. As costs rise, how will society keep higher education affordable? William Zumeta heads the graduate program at the Evans School of Public Affairs and has written about the costs of college. He joins us to talk about how we can make sure people in Washington state can pursue higher education without having to go into crushing debt.