Washington – Fix the Debt, a coalition of business executives and policymakers advocating for sweeping deficit reduction, will release its first television ad Sunday, marking a new phase in the group’s efforts to influence the fiscal debate.
Formed five months ago as an offshoot of the Center for Responsible Budget Priorities, the nonprofit group has assembled a roster of influential politicians – including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – and major business leaders.
Members of the group regularly take to op-ed pages and cable news to urge a deficit reduction deal that brings in new revenue, cuts spending and includes major reform to social programs like Social Security and Medicare. They also have visited the White House and Capitol Hill.
The group has chapters operating in 17 states, and is backed by a reported $43 million war chest, seeded mainly by corporate donations.
Sunday’s ad offers a taste of what will likely be an escalating television campaign as contours of a possible fiscal deal take shape in negotiations between the White House and Republican leaders in the House.
Border Patrol agent’s family sues over death
Phoenix – The family of a slain Border Patrol agent has sued federal officials over the botched “Fast and Furious” gun operation, claiming they should have known it created a risk to law enforcement authorities.
Agent Brian Terry was mortally wounded on Dec. 14, 2010, in a firefight north of the Arizona-Mexico border between U.S. agents and five men who had sneaked into the country to rob marijuana smugglers.
The case was filed Thursday, one day short of the two-year anniversary of Terry’s death and a deadline for filing a wrongful death claim in federal court.
Federal authorities who conducted “Fast and Furious” have faced tough criticism for allowing suspected straw gun buyers for a smuggling ring to walk away from gun shops in Arizona with weapons, rather than arrest them and seize the guns.
The lawsuit made publicly available on Friday was filed by Terry’s parents against six managers and investigators for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The family also sued a federal prosecutor who had previously handled the case but is no longer on it, and the owner of the gun store where two rifles found in the aftermath of the firefight were bought.
The family alleges the ATF officials and federal prosecutor created a risk to law enforcement officers such as Terry, and that the firearms agents should have known their actions would lead to injuries and deaths to civilians and police officers.