The Bottom Line

April 3, 2014

Much of the focus in House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget inevitably falls on the changes it it would make to mandatory spending, of which there are many. However, much of the budget's deficit reduction comes through further cuts (beyond the sequester currently in place) to non-defense discretionary spending.

April 2, 2014

One of the recurring themes of recent budget debates has been partisan differences over the appropriate level of revenues, with Republicans rejecting any increased revenue proposed by Democrats in budget negotiations. But in separate releases yesterday, Senate Democrats proposed reducing revenues below the levels proposed by House Republicans. While this may seem like an April Fool’s joke, the numbers don’t lie. 

April 2, 2014

Update: Two days later, the Senate Finance Committee amended the legislation to extend nearly all of the provisions that had been allowed to expire. See our blog post for analysis of the final package.

April 2, 2014

A new feature of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-WI) FY 2015 budget is assumption of a "fiscal dividend," which reflects the economic impact of the deficit reduction in the budget. Policy changes have both direct and indirect budgetary impacts. Directly, increases in revenue or cuts in spending lower the deficit. Indirectly, deficit reduction can produce economic effects which, in turn, contribute to additional deficit reduction.

April 2, 2014
A Guide to Congress' Gimmicks

Elected officials in Congress often hide new spending or tax cuts by taking advantage of the rules followed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

April 1, 2014

With the medium-term economic and budget outlook weaker than last year, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-WI) goal of reaching a balanced budget by the end of the decade has become much more difficult. Despite this, Ryan's FY2015 budget does achieve balance in 2024, just as last year's budget did in 2023.

April 1, 2014

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his FY 2015 budget today, outlining a series of changes that promise to reduce the debt as a share of the economy and balance the budget by 2024. Our initial analysis of the budget took a look at the impact it will have on the deficit and debt. This post examines spending and revenue levels in the Ryan budget. 

April 1, 2014

This morning, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released his FY 2015 budget proposal, "The Path to Prosperity." The budget reaches balance in 2024 by cutting over $5.1 trillion of spending over ten years (relative to a "PAYGO baseline"), and it assumes an additional $175 billion in deficit reduction from a "fiscal dividend"

March 31, 2014
Senate-Passed Doc Fix Includes Multiple Serious Medicare Reforms

The Senate voted 64-35 today to approve a 12-month temporary “doc fix” to push back the impending nearly 25 percent cut to Medicare physician payments dictated by the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula.

March 31, 2014

In a letter to the Ways & Means Committee, CRFB President Maya MacGuineas states that Chairman Dave Camp's tax reform draft made the right choices in choosing how to deal with the tax extenders and potential revenue from economic growth. The full letter can be seen here.

March 31, 2014

Last week, we made the case that an expired provision known as bonus depreciation be treated separately from the other tax extenders, both because it was intended as temporary stimulus and because the small cost of a one-year extension masks the huge cost of making it permanent. Specifically, extending bonus depreciation for one year would cost about $5 billion (before interest) while extending it year after year would cost $300 billion.

March 28, 2014

A recent Department of Defense white paper takes a close look at what reforms to the military retirement system might look like, even though the Commission on Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization will not make its recommendations in 2015.

March 28, 2014

Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced legislation yesterday to cut taxes for low- and middle-income workers in a few different ways. The legislation is intended to be fully paid for, and although there is no official CBO or JCT score, it appears to accomplish that goal.

March 27, 2014

Congress is considering another 12-month doc fix, averting a 24 percent cut in Medicare physician payments scheduled for April 1. While the SGR patch contains several serious reforms that would reduce future health care costs, it contains one big accounting gimmick that accounts for about one-fifth of the bill's savings.

March 26, 2014
Patch Includes Many Serious Reforms and One Big Gimmick

(Updated to incorporate new information from the Congressional Budget Office's score of the doc fix bill)

March 26, 2014

This is the sixteenth post in our blog series, The Tax Break-Down, which analyzes and review tax breaks under discussion as part of tax reform. Previously, we wrote about the Charitable Deduction, which lets itemizers deduct the amount they donate to charity. Read more posts in the Tax Break-Down here. This blog examines the provisions that expired at the end of 2013.

March 25, 2014

The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing this morning on "Why Debt Matters," which included testimony by Honeywell CEO Dave Cote, former CBO and OMB director Alice Rivlin, former CBO director and American Action Forum president Douglas Holtz-Eakin, and former economic adviser to Vice President Biden and current Center on Budget and Policy Priorities fellow Jared Bernstein.

March 25, 2014

A new rule proposed by the administration's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would effectively eliminate the sequester for another portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), just days after the administration exempted the health care law's cost-sharing subsidies from the sequester.

March 25, 2014
Federal budget deficit: Despite short-term improvement, Americans must continue pressing for solutions to long-term problem

Jason Peuquet, research fellow at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, has an op-ed with Joshua Gordon of the Concord Coalition in the San Jose Mercury News. It is reposted here. 

March 24, 2014
Measure Should Be Evaluated Separately From Other Tax Extenders

In the coming weeks, both the House and Senate are expected to begin discussing what to do with a number of expired tax provisions known as the "tax extenders." Most of these provisions are extended year after year and have become, in many ways, a fixture of the tax code. Bonus depreciation does not fall into this category.

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