The Bottom Line

January 16, 2014

Last month's Ryan-Murray budget deal set overall spending levels for the government at $1.1 trillion, but it did not set specific spending levels for each agency. On Monday, the Appropriations Committee released an omnibus spending bill detailing how the money is allocated between agencies, along with dozens of specific instructions directing what projects agencies must and must not fund.

January 15, 2014

Lawmakers in the House moved quickly to pass the omnibus appropriations bill released two days ago with a 359-67 vote. Earlier in the day, the Senate passed a three-day continuing resolution by a 86-14 vote, clearing the way for passage of the broader package later in the week.

January 15, 2014

Among the many things we noted yesterday on the blog about the omnibus appropriations bill was the similarity between war spending in the bill and in the past fiscal year. Spending for overseas contingency operations declined by only $1 billion -- from $93 billion to $92 billion -- between 2013 and 2014, and spending was more than $20 billion higher than what CBO assumes in its drawdown scenario.

January 15, 2014

Today, the House Ways and Means Committee launched a new website on tax reform, compiling all of the Committee's useful resources on the subject. We've talked about the great benefits of reforming the tax code by eliminating the many of the complicated, inefficient, and regressive tax expenditures that will cost the federal government over $1.2 trillion in forgone revenues in 2014.

January 14, 2014

Last night, Congressional appropriators unveiled a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill that would fund the government for the rest of FY 2014. The announcement comes just in time to avoid a government shutdown after tomorrow; lawmakers are working on a three-day stopgap to buy time to pass the broader package.

January 14, 2014
Helping the Budget $150 Billion at a Time

Congress entered 2013 with a great deal on its plate, but it still has some work left to do. Our budget problems are still far from solved and ideally lawmakers would make a comprehensive deficit reduction deal a priority. However, at the very least, they can do no harm.

January 13, 2014

Last month, President Obama gave a speech on rising income inequality in the United States, which is a theme expected to be prominent throughout the President's 2014 agenda.

January 13, 2014

As the Senate looks for offsets for an unemployment insurance extension, there is one provision that has gotten some attention: ending "double-dipping" for those receiving both UI and federal disability benefits.

January 13, 2014

We spend a great time on The Bottom Line discussing the economic and policy consequenses of the nation's unsustainable debt. But what about the moral and ethical dimensions of the current fiscal situation?

On Thursday, CRFB will host a panel discussion from 12:00-1:30 PM at 1899 L Street, Suite 400. Lunch will be served at the event.

January 10, 2014

Yesterday, the IRS Taxpayer Advocate released its 2013 annual report, detailing what it sees as the largest problems facing taxpayers. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS and recommend changes that will prevent those problems.

January 10, 2014

Today, the Congressional Budget Office released their score of the proposal from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to renew extended unemployment benefits in concert with other reductions in spending.

January 9, 2014

On Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their annual update on health care spending growth, showing that 2012 was another year of slow cost growth and lending further insight into the burning question of what’s causing the recent slowdown.

January 9, 2014

The unemployment insurance saga continues. Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) proposed an alternative unemployment benefit extension which would run through mid-November, in place of the three-month extension previously considered.

January 9, 2014

Over the past few months, the subject of Social Security has been hotly debated, centering  Recently, Jane White authored an article in the Huffington Post supporting Senator Warren, and mischaracterized CRFB's position toward Social Security.

January 8, 2014

Note: This piece was originally posted on the Angry Bear blog.

January 7, 2014
Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Out with the Old, In with the ? – 2013 is history and 2014 is just underway. While the New Year is usually a time for optimism, this year begins with many questions and concerns. Although there is hope for stronger economic growth in 2014, there is still much anxiety.

January 7, 2014

Among the elements of the budget deal that passed Congress last month was a small $6 billion change to the way military pensions are calculated for military retirees younger than 62. In the face of lawmakers who would roll back this change, both the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal editorial boards defended the provision in the last two days. 

January 6, 2014

The passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act was a positive move away from governing by crisis, and a demonstration that policymakers can meet self-imposed legislative deadlines. Yet substantial unfinished business remains, and much of it has significant fiscal implications. Below are some issues Congress should address early this year:

January 6, 2014

Since 2009, the White House has held an annual contest for federal employees to submit their money saving ideas, called the SAVE Award (which stands for Securing Americans Value and Efficiency).  The contest's finalists have their ideas included in the President's next budget submission (or implemented by executive action if possible), and the public votes on the winning idea. The employee who submitted the winning idea gets the chance to explain it directly to the President in the Oval Office.

January 6, 2014

It's the beginning of 2014, and Congress did not pass legislation to extend the "tax extenders," a collection of over 50 provisions that expired at the end of 2013. Although they might later be extended retroactively, that means that a motley collection of tax breaks for research and spending by small businesses, along with specialized breaks for Puerto Rican rum, NASCAR tracks, racehorses, and movie studios have vanished, at least for now.

Syndicate content