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Crunch Time



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I spoke to OMB Director Jim Nussle this morning about everything that is not happening with respect to next year’s appropriations.  He reminded me that Congress has only five legislative days before its Thanksgiving break and then only six legislative days before the scheduled Christmas break.  Not a single appropriations bill has been sent to the President and not a one in its current form would be signed if it did make its way to him.  The president has veto strength in the House — and maybe in the Senate given yesterday’s vote on the Labor/HHS bill.  It’s  hard to see how these bills get signed before the end of the year.  And Director Nussle, a savvy veteran of budget battles as former chairman of the House Budget Committee, explains that the Democratic leadership is “not reaching out at all” to work with the administration.  It is even impossible to figure out who speaks for the majority.  Reid and Pelosi appear to be at odds on policy and strategy and its unclear if Steny Hoyer and David Obey agree with the speaker or with each other.  A budget train wreck seems to be on the horizon, but at the moment the decoupled cars aren’t even on the track.



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