The Bottom Line

October 18, 2013
Hey Congress: Use This Moment

The shutdown may be over and fears of a default adverted for now, but the reality remains that we still haven't made any progress on our debt problem. CRFB President Maya MacGuineas writes in zpolitics that with a few months before we approach the next fiscal hurdles, lawmakers should get busy and begin to work toward a permanent solution.

October 18, 2013

Recent reports have suggested the new budget conference committee may focus its attention of a deal to replace sequestration.

October 18, 2013

With President Obama's signature on Thursday morning, the nation went from the brink of default to having a least a little elbow room on the debt ceiling for a few months. The actual date on which the nation would default (the "X date") is uncertain given the question of whether extraordinary measures will be available, but the bill will at least prevent a breach of the debt ceiling through February 7.

October 17, 2013

In additional to reopening the government and suspending the debt ceiling, last night, both the House and Senate agreed to go to Budget Conference.

October 17, 2013

This is the eleventh post in our blog series, The Tax Break-Down, which will analyze and review tax breaks under discussion as part of tax reform. Our last post was on the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides a credit for undergraduate tuition. 

October 17, 2013

Yesterday, former Defense Secretary and CRFB board member Leon Panetta headlined a press conference at the National Press Club on the need for our lawmakers to come together and work toward a comprehensive debt deal.

October 16, 2013
Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Ending the Shutdown and Cranking Up the Debt Limit – It’s been an up-and-down past couple of weeks. The federal government has been shut down since October 1 and the U.S. loses its borrowing authority on October 17 absent a deal to increase the statutory debt ceiling. Several times there have been hopeful signs of an end only to fizzle out. But on Wednesday a deal was announced to end the short-term crises, albeit temporarily.

October 16, 2013

After a few weeks of government shutdown and a nerve-wracking lead-up to hitting the debt ceiling, the Senate leadership announced today it had come to an agreement to resolve the current crisis. Under this deal the government would be funded through January 15 at the FY 2013 level of $986 billion and the debt ceiling would be suspended through February 7 (though extraordinary measures would extend the default date past then). The leaders have also agreed to set up a budget conference committee that would be instructed to report recommendations by December 13.

October 16, 2013

The prolonged government shutdown and debt ceiling debate are a clear indication that our government is not functioning as it should. Furloughed workers, closed national parks, and shuttered government offices are the byproduct of an unwillingness to compromise by our elected officials.

October 15, 2013

Yesterday, Former Treasury Secretary and director of the National Economic Council Larry Summers argued that “budget deficits are now a second-order problem” and the focus should instead be on economic growth. Although the piece is in many ways insightful, it could perpetuate the myth in Washington that our debt problems are either solved or are no longer a pressing concern.

October 14, 2013

Bipartisan discussions over how to end the partial government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling are coming down to the wire as this week begins, with only three days left until October 17 -- the date that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says the U.S. government would be left with a dangerously low amount of cash on hand and default could potentially be imminent.

October 14, 2013

Today begins week three of the government shutdown, and we are now just days away from when the Treasury will exhaust its borrowing authority and risk a default. So far, lawmakers have yet to agree on a fiscally responsible way out of this dilemma. However, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Michael Boskin chimes in today with several suggestions.

October 11, 2013

Naturally, the country has been consumed by the developments (or lack thereof) in the government shutdown and debt ceiling impasse. But there is some movement on another piece of legislation which will need to pass before the end of the year: the farm bill. Last year, the farm bill was set to expire, but the fiscal cliff deal extended it for another year to give time for lawmakers to come to an agreement.

October 11, 2013

As the government shutdown continues into its 11th day, the two parties have just begun having serious negotiations about reopening the government and raising the debt limit to prevent a catastrophic default in the next week or so.  According to press reports, Senate Republicans are seriously discussing a proposal that would deal with both.

October 10, 2013

With the recent improvement in medium-term budget projections, some are trying to advance the myth that our debt problems have been solved. But as we've shown before, lawmakers still have a great deal of work left to do to put the budget on a sustainable path.

October 10, 2013
We Already Knew the Real Solutions

In yesterday's New York Times, the paper asks in its "Room for Debate" series what federal spending we are better off without in light of the sequester and the government shutdown.

October 9, 2013

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) presents a possible down payment on the debt as a way out of the government shutdown/debt ceiling impasse. The deal would involve entitlement reforms that have some bipartisan support and tax reform.

About the entitlement reforms, he writes:

October 9, 2013
A Way Out Possible

The government is still shut down, and the debt ceiling is looming around the corner. Markets are beginning to worry, and the country is facing its first ever default if action is not taken soon.

In today's The Hill, former Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), co-chair of the Campaign to Fix the Debt and CRFB board member, captures the danger of failing to raise the debt ceiling. Conrad writes:

October 9, 2013
The Folly of the Debt Ceiling

As we draw ever nearer to the projected deadline for hitting the debt ceiling, Congress still has not been able to make a deal. Today, CRFB board member Rudy Penner authored an piece in CNN Money describing the folly of the debt ceiling and the possibility of a default.

October 9, 2013

Earlier this week, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs convened a hearing addressing fraudulent behavior in the Social Security Disability Insurance System, which has already garnered significant national attention. The Chairman of the Committee, Sen.

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