News roundup: Spending cuts start, but government shutdown unlikely
Published: March 4, 2013 07:32AM
Updated: March 4, 2013 07:32AM
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FLE - In this March 15, 2012 file photo, four members of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team make a pass over the runway in formation before landing in Yuma, Ariz. The Air Force is saying it will ground the Thunderbirds without a federal budget deal, putting the popular flight event's appearance at this summer's Dayton Air Show in jeopardy. (AP Photo/The Yuma Sun, Craig Fry, File)

Spending cuts go into place. But government shutdown less likely. New Obama picks for EPA, Energy and OMB.

Happy Monday. Congress couldn't come up with a plan to halt the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester, but it appears a deal is likely to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month. The House is expected to vote this week on a budget to keep the government running through the end of September and it's something the White House thinks it can buy into. [WaPost]

Topping the news: The sequestration could end up costing America hundreds of thousands of jobs, but isn't likely to hurt corporations' bottom lines. [NYTimes]

-> President Barack Obama is expected this morning to announce the promotion of an EPA official to lead the agency and to bring in an MIT professor to take over the Energy Department. [Politico]

-> The president is also expected to name his new OMB director, a former Clinton administration official. [Politico]

Tweets of the day: From @utahdiatribe: "Decided to follow @RepRobBishop since there is little danger of him dominating our Twitter timeline."

-> And from @TonyFratto: "I don't really know what to say about Rodman."

Happy birthday: Today to state Rep. Stephen Handy and Taylorsville City Recorder Cheryl Cottle, and belated wishes to state Rep. Larry Wiley and state Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, who celebrated yesterday.

Heard on the Hill: "For those of you trying to Google 'beer statistics,' they are apparently filtered so we are not allowed to get them here [through the Capitol wifi]."
- Rep. Ryan Wilcox, R-Ogden, during a hearing on a proposed alcohol tax increase.

"I may look tough on the outside. But on the inside I am a delicate flower. I threw up four times on that F-16 flight." - Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, telling the House about an F-16 flight at Hill Air Force Base.

From the Hill: Here's your daily legislative schedule. [Trib]

-> After passing both houses, a bill that would ban smoking in cars with kids under 15 present is on its way to Gov. Gary Herbert's desk. [Trib]

-> A bill that would increase the alcohol tax by 4.65 percent was canned after its sponsor admitted that the legislation wasn't about increasing revenue, but fighting overconsumption. [Trib]

-> Consumers could have more protection against tow truck companies, thanks to a new bill that passed through a House committee. [Trib]

-> The Senate nixed a controversial bill that would have raised rates for electric ratepayers to fund a nuclear power project. [Trib]

-> House lawmakers passed a resolution calling for "ObamaCare" to be repealed -- despite the opposition of Democrats, who say it's unlikely that Congress will repeal the law. [Trib]

-> The House voted unanimously to ensure that data contained in vehicle's "black boxes" -- devices in newer vehicles which record speed, breaking and other factors -- could only be released with permission from the car's owner. [Trib]

-> George Sutherland -- the only Utahn to ever serve on the U.S. Supreme Court -- may get a federal courthouse named after him, thanks to a joint resolution passed by the House. [Trib]

-> Sky lanterns would be banned during high-risk fire conditions under a fire code bill that is advancing in the Senate. [Trib]

-> The House moved to codify the Utah Marriage Commission, ensuring that less federal funding won't eliminate the commission. [Trib]

Opinion section: Paul Rolly speculates that House Speaker Becky Lockhart might be considering an attempt to oust Gov. Gary Herbert in 2016. [Trib]

-> Rolly also says state Rep. Mike Noel's acceptance of federal funds for his employer is hypocritical, given his opposition to federal funding that would keep the Department of Environmental Quality afloat. [Trib]

-> A former National Park Service superintendent says everyone -- including the national parks, states and citizens -- needs to come together to resolve water issues in the West. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley offers his take on the "sequester butt-bites." [Trib]

-> Brian Moench of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment says it's a lack of public policy, not a "bad weatherman" that's keeping Utah's air from clearing up. [Trib]

-> An environmental lawyer says the Utah Legislature is too quick to villify Agenda 21, a United Nations degree that calls for land-use planning. [Trib]

-> A political science and gender studies professor takes another look at the "woman with a gun" narrative. [Trib]

-> George Pyle says that Medicare should be expanded to cut down on health care costs.
[Trib]

-> Sen. Orrin Hatch shares his take on the sequester, calling for cuts totaling $142.2 billion -- $60 billion more than the sequester cuts -- in different areas of government.
[Trib]

-> A former Republican lawmakers says he's surprised that his old colleagues haven't passed a message bill on sequestration. [Trib]

-> Homeless advocate Pamela Atkinson says having a strong mentor in education is a way to break the cycle of poverty. [Trib]

-> Peg McEntee says the Legislature needs to consider the human costs of relocating the Utah State Prison. [Trib]

-> Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb try to figure out where to place the blame for the sequester. [DNews]

-> A U. student of health communication says that we shouldn't be afraid of the "Obamacare" name. [DNews]

-> John Florez says school boards are too insular to tackle critical issues. [DNews]

-> Former Sen. Bob Bennett says raising the minimum wage could backfire and hurt the working poor. [DNews]

-> State Sen. Kevin Van Tassell says energy independence is possible -- as long as Washington gets on board. [DNews]

Weekend in review: Meet Kenya Coleman, the state Capitol's kitchen extraordinare -- known for dishing up taco salad to gun lobbyist Clark Aposhian, cheeseburgers to Gov. Gary Herbert and peanut butter sandwiches with the crust cut off for former Gov. Jon Huntsman. [Trib]

-> Ann Romney says that the end of her husband's presidential run was similar to the let-down after serving an LDS mission. [Trib]

-> Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love says she's optimistic about her city's ability to survive the sequester due to being "independent" of federal funding. [Trib]

-> Gov. Herbert submitted 24 nominees for the state's environmental policy boards to the Senate, where they await confirmation. [Trib]

Nationally: In his first television interview since the election, former Republican hopeful Mitt Romney says it "kills" him not to be in the White House. In the Fox News Sunday interview, the former Massachusetts governor said he regrets not reaching out more to Hispanic voters. [Politico] [WaPost] [NYTimes]

-> President Barack Obama is quickly filling judicial seats -- with three dozen candidates named since the beginning of the year -- and building up a more diverse judiciary while doing so. [WaPost]

Where are they?

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

-- Thomas Burr and Emily Andrews
Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/emilytandrews