The Bottom Line

May 20, 2014

Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH) introduced the The Federal Financial Statement Transparency Act of 2014 today. This legislation would make major changes to the composition and structure of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB), which recommends the standards used in the federal government's financial statements.

May 19, 2014

Appropriations season is in full swing. The House has already passed the Legislative Branch and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs bills, while the Senate Appropriations Commitee is scheduled to officially set 302(b) allocations and mark up the Military Construction-VA and Agriculture bills this Thursday.

May 16, 2014

As the Senate Appropriations Committee makes its 302(b) allocations, divvying up funding among the 12 appropriations bills, it will have to deal with an unpleasant surprise from CBO's latest baseline: lower estimated Federal Housing Administration receipts.

May 16, 2014

The mortgage interest deduction has long been targeted as a tax expenditure by advocates of tax reform. In a new paper, the Tax Policy Center's Amanda Eng looks at four different options for replacing the deduction (and in one option the property tax deduction as well) with a credit. These options would all raise revenue while tailoring the subsidy toward lower-income taxpayers.

May 15, 2014

As the Senate works this week to increase the debt, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) outlined a series of reforms to Social Security, Medicare, and retirement accounts in a speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday.

May 14, 2014

We have already shown how both federal health care spending and revenue projections have been revised downward by $900 billion and $4.2 trillion, respectively, through 2021 since CBO's March 2011 baseline. Another story -- one that is a continuation of a trend since the Great Recession -- is the deterioration of Social Security's finances.

May 14, 2014

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation held its 2014 Fiscal Summit today, bringing together a number of current and former policymakers, experts, commentators and other prominent figures to discuss the nation's fiscal challenges. 

May 14, 2014
Senator Coburn Pledges a Separate Deficit Vote

The Senate is moving forward with tax extenders legislation, renewing a variety of breaks that expired at the end of last year for research, small business, and wind energy, among other provisions.

May 13, 2014

We have always have been proponents of paying for the costs of policies such as the tax extenders and doc fixes, since doing so would make a significant improvement in the long-term debt situation. Unfortuately, even a strict adherence to pay-as-you-go rules (PAYGO) leaves the debt on a substantial upward path.

May 13, 2014

Medicare spending has grown remarkably slowly this year, according to the often-overlooked CBO's Monthly Budget Reviews. Through April (seven months into Fiscal Year 2014), net Medicare spending has increased by $2 billion, or just 0.7 percent, from the same seven months last year. 

May 12, 2014

As we explained last week, health care spending is growing more slowly, which is great news for the federal budget. Spending has been revised downward by $900 billion through 2021 since CBO's March 2011 budget outlook. Unfortunately, not all parts of the budget tell as positive a story.

May 9, 2014
"New Routes for Funding and Financing Highways and Transit"

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing May 6th titled, “New Routes for Funding and Financing Highways and Transit.” During the hearing Senators and witnesses covered a range of topics including the consequences of the impending insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), the Administration’s four-year transportation proposal, and other budgetary, economic, and administrative issues with transportation funding.

May 9, 2014
Will Congress Listen to the Military on Pay?

Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Budget, wrote a commentary that appeared in the Wall Street Journal Washington Wire. It is reposted here.

May 8, 2014

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released the spring update to its long-term federal budget simulation series. In their report, GAO produces simulations from 2014-2088 under two sets of assumptions, a Baseline Extended and an Alternative Scenario. These simulations show fiscal conditions under different sets of policy options.

May 7, 2014

The recent slowdown in federal health care spending has certainly been good news for the budget, knocking hundreds of billions of dollars off projections over the next decade. A main debate in the health policy world lately has been to what extent this slowdown can continue both for public health spending and overall national spending.

May 7, 2014

The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) yesterday in opposition to the extension and expansion of the Research & Experimentation (R&E) tax credit recently passed by the House Ways and Means Committee. The Administration supports the R&E credit, the SAP explains, but opposes the $156 billion unoffset cost of the House proposal.

May 7, 2014

Today, Wonkblog published a “Know More” feature arguing that “You Should Tune Out Politicians Who Are Still Talking about Government Debt.” As evidence for this claim, they cite the recent Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) report that shows the long-term debt situation has improved relative to its 2010 projections, and quote the report’s assertion that "no deficit or debt crisis looms, and the weak labor market remains the nation’s most immediate economic concern."

May 7, 2014

The Pentagon's budget faces serious constraints this year as a result of budget caps agreed to last year and rising personnel, healthcare, and retirement costs taking up an increasing share of military spending.

May 6, 2014

With April's updated projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), spending on major federal health care programs (Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act's exchange subsidies) has now been revised downward by $900 billion, or 0.4 percent of GDP, cumulatively from 2011 through 2021, just since their March 2011 projections.

May 5, 2014

Congress is continuing to discuss this week the tax extenders, a set of tax breaks that expired at the end of last year which could have major fiscal implications if they were extended without being paid for. Below, we describe the extenders in a series of charts.

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