The Bottom Line

March 7, 2011

CRFB would like to give much praise to Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) for introducing a bill to gradually raise both the Social Security full retirement age (FRA) and early retirement age (ERA) to help shore up the program's finances for future generations. The bill, H.R.

March 4, 2011

In a recent analysis of the second largest tax expenditure in the tax code--the mortgage interest deduction--the Tax Policy Center finds that most people would not see their tax burdens change much if lawmakers significantly reduced or restructured the deduction. Their findings may come as a surprise to many people who think of the mortgage interest deduction as a huge benefit for homeowners.

March 3, 2011

One day after President Obama signed a bill to avert - for at least 2 more weeks - a federal government shutdown, Vice President Joe Biden will meet with Congressional leaders this afternoon in an effort to move forward with budget negotiations.

March 2, 2011

In a vote of 91 to 9, the Senate has passed the House-crafted two-week continuing resolution (CR) to keep government doors open. Yesterday, this bill -- which will cut $4 billion in the next two weeks -- passed the House to set up this Senate vote. Congress was under pressure to reach an agreement before the current CR expires this Friday.

March 2, 2011

It's a busy time in the budget world, so everyone make sure to mark your calendars for two very exciting upcoming events happening next week!

On Tuesday, March 8th, the Moment of Truth Project will officially be launched at an event on Capitol Hill. The project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort, co-chaired by Erskine Bowles and Sen. Alan Simpson of the President's fiscal commission, that seeks to build on the momentum and prospect for bipartisan compromise created by the Commission.

March 1, 2011

Today, the Senate Finance Committee had its first in a series of hearings for the coming year about reforming our tax code. Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) has said he wants to hold weekly hearings on the subject in an effort to make progress on this issue in the near future. The issue has gotten a fair amount of attention in recent months, with hearings on tax reform also having taken place in the Senate Budget and House Ways and Means Committees.

March 1, 2011

Today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a comprehensive review of all federal programs in an effort to promote greater efficiency in government. This initiative was launched thanks to Sen.

March 1, 2011

Interest rates have an enormous effect on how much we pay each year on servicing our debt. In the Budget and Economic Outlook from January, CBO estimated that 1 percent higher interest rates each year could increase deficits by $1.3 trillion over ten years. CBO also estimated a few other "rules of thumb" to show how changes in inflation and economic growth have significant impacts on budget forecasts.

February 28, 2011

This week, our Spotlight on the States series heads down south to beautiful and sunny Florida, a state that has faced its share of budget woes. The state currently faces a $3.6 billion budget deficit (five percent of their 2010 budget) and has an unemployment rate of 12 percent, the third-highest in the country behind Nevada and California.

February 28, 2011

Shutting Down Versus Sitting Down – Congress returns to Washington this week after lawmakers spent last week back home. Just before leaving town the House of Representatives passed legislation funding the federal government for the rest of this fiscal year that slashes spending by about $60 billion compared to current levels.

February 28, 2011

UPDATE 3/1: House passes two-week CR by vote of 335-91. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says that the bill will be taken up in the Senate and is likely to be passed within the next 48 hours.

With the current CR for FY 2011 coming to an end March 4, both parties in Congress are issuing short term plans to avoid a government shutdown, or at least to have political cover in case the government is shuttered.

February 28, 2011

In her latest commentary for CNN Money, CRFB president Maya MacGuineas talks about the House Republicans' latest spending proposals, how they could affect the budget and the economy, and the need for more fundamental budget reform.

Click here to read the full article.

 

February 27, 2011

On Friday, a panel discussion between Democratic and Republican staff directors of the House Budget Committee and CRFB president Maya MacGuineas focused on current budget negotiations and the likelihood of a government shutdown next week after the current CR expires on Friday March 4. Maya MacGuineas argued that lawmakers likely will not have time to agree on a solution in time to avoid a government shutdown.

February 25, 2011

Update: CBO released an estimate of H.R. 1 on Friday, Feb 25, puting total base discretionary budget authority at $1,026 billion. The table below has been updated.

February 25, 2011

As the impacts of the economic recession continue to fade, serious debate on the direction of fiscal policy is finally beginning with very different views on the timing and size of near-term budget cuts leading the way.  The President and his supporters are generally arguing to postpone cuts--or at least minimize them--until the economy picks up more steam.  Congressional Republicans argue that we already have far too much debt and that spending should be cut now with even more cuts in the years ahead.  Some have even suggested that the precarious n

February 23, 2011

Last week, the White House released the President’s FY 2012 budget proposal.

February 23, 2011

Last week, the White House released the President’s FY 2012 budget proposal. On Wednesday, CRFB released its analysis of the budget. Today, we take a closer look at the specific proposals found in the budget’s Terminations, Reductions, and Savings.

February 22, 2011

After four marathon sessions and hundreds of amendments the House of Representatives approved of legislation, H.R. 1, which will cut spending in the final seven months of FY 2011. However, while the course the bill traveled in the House was precarious, the rest of the path it must travel is downright impassable. Meanwhile, time is dwindling for Washington to avert a government shutdown.

February 22, 2011

In our continued analysis of the President’s budget, we now move to a detailed examination of what the budget, if enacted entirely and without future changes, would look like at the end of the 10-year cycle in 2021 and how it will change from today.

February 21, 2011

In a recent article, the Washington Post reported that federal, local, and state debt levels -- including the intergovernmental debt the government owes to itself through various trust funds --  will reach a level that hasn't been seen since immediately following WWII by year's end.

Luckily, after World War II, we were able to in part grow our way out of the debt. As the article explains, though, we face a far different situation today. It says:

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