National briefs: 3/8/12

March 8, 2012 12:01 am

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Budget deal may unravel
INGTON -- Conservatives dominating the House are pushing to scrap last year's budget pact with President Barack Obama and impose new cuts on domestic agencies in an election-year drive to show voters they're serious about shrinking the government.

The move is popular with freshman lawmakers elected on a tea party wave in 2010. But veteran lawmakers warn it will produce gridlock later, when Congress has to follow up the springtime debate on a broad budget blueprint with actual spending bills reflecting the new cuts, and get them enacted into law.

Driving the discussion is frustration among many Republicans that they haven't done enough to cut spending or curb deficits that still exceed $1 trillion a year. The upcoming budget debate is maybe the last, best forum to demonstrate their bona fides to voters -- especially core conservatives they're counting on to turn out in large numbers to maintain the GOP's majority in the House.

Threat from cyber hacking

WASHINGTON -- A day after authorities arrested several hackers from the Anonymous movement, the FBI director, Robert S. Mueller III, warned members of Congress that terrorist groups might use hackers to attack the United States.

"Terrorists have shown interest in pursuing hacking skills," Mr. Mueller said Wednesday in written testimony to a House appropriations subcommittee reviewing the bureau's budget.

Mr. Mueller said that the federal government must act swiftly to prevent such attacks and economic espionage from other countries because they pose a "potentially devastating" threat to the country's businesses and infrastructure.

Obama touts policies

MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. -- President Barack Obama brought his reelection message to a manufacturing town in this important battleground state Wednesday, hoping to build enthusiasm for his campaign in the region where he will accept the 2012 Democratic nomination this summer.

First Published 2012-03-07 23:31:53

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