The Bottom Line

December 1, 2011

Today marks the first anniversary of the release of The Moment of Truth, the final report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, better known as the Fiscal Commission. The report's recommendations covered all areas of the budget -- including entitlements, defense, the tax code, and Social Security -- with a total of $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years.

December 1, 2011

In the wake of the Super Committee being unable to recommend a package of savings, many other lawmakers have been stepping in to fill the void on debt reduction efforts, the trigger, and what to do about expiring provisions at the end of December. The reactions have been diverse, with some productive and some disturbing reactions.

November 30, 2011

Today, Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the two leading members of the House Budget Committee, introduced a bill to give the President expedited rescission authority, a cousin of the line-item veto. The Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act would allow the President to submit discretionary spending items to Congress to cancel after spending bills have been passed. If brought to the floor, these cancellations would get an up-or-down vote in Congress.

November 29, 2011

At an American Enterprise Institute event yesterday, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that he will unveil a plan to reform the corporate tax code in early 2012. Sen.

November 29, 2011

Later this week, Senate majority leader Harry Reid is expected to hold a vote on the two largest components of President Obama’s jobs bill, totaling $250 billion of the $450 billion proposal.

November 28, 2011

This afternoon Fitch Ratings lowered the outlook on the United States' credit rating from stable to negative.

November 28, 2011
A Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Stuffed – The Super Committee talked turkey, but in the end produced no meat. All that got placed before us was the warmed-over stuffing of partisan bickering and finger pointing. Americans have had their fill and are demanding action.

November 28, 2011

News flash: Congress has a huge checklist to take care of. Many expiring tax provisions need to be dealt with, along with other temporary policies and the FY 2012 budget.

Doesn't this sound a lot like last year? Back in 2010, lawmakers had to deal with the 2001/2003 tax cuts, the doc fix, the AMT patch, unemployment insurance, tax "extenders", and FY 2011 appropriations -- in addition to a whole host of other non-budget-related issues -- in December.

November 23, 2011

In his New York Times column this morning, Tom Friedman urged the president to “Go Big” to put the country on a “sustainable economic recovery path”. Friedman believes Obama should champion a large, bipartisan fiscal plan and should use the Simpson-Bowles Fiscal Commission plan as the starting point because it is calls for large enough savings to fix the problem and already has bipartisan support.

November 22, 2011

We talked yesterday about the importance of keeping the trigger, or the automatic sequester of $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, in place in order to help bring both sides of the aisle back to the negotiating table to enact smart and forward-looking reforms to the budget.

November 22, 2011
Congress Begs a Crisis to Fix the Debt

CRFB board member Rudy Penner recently authored a CNN Money op-ed in which he writes that Congress has delayed the necessary fiscal adjustments for so long that now they have become quite painful, resulting in nothing but political gridlock. He also states that while he hopes an agreement will be reached over the next year, the most likely scenario is that a fiscal crisis will be the only thing that can force Congress to act.

November 21, 2011
A Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

SuperBad – Well, they did it after all. In an amazing feat of utter failure, the so-called Super Committee managed to under-perform the already low expectations and come up with absolutely nothing. While the official deadline for the panel to issue recommendations is Wednesday, it must submit any proposal to the Congressional Budget Office 48 hours ahead of time, making today the effective deadline.

November 21, 2011

When Congress raised the debt ceiling in last August’s Budget Control Act (BCA), it mandated at least $1.2 trillion in further savings by 2021, from either Plan A, the bipartisan Super Committee, or Plan B, automatic cuts in spending -- also known as a sequester. The sequester would have automatically been turned off if a plan from the Super Committee to save at least $1.2 trillion were enacted.

However, with a Super Committee failure expected to be official very shortly, it is important that Congress leave Plan B in place rather than overriding it for three main reasons:

November 18, 2011

As we said earlier this week, the Super Committee needs to be finding ways to negotiate its way up to larger savings, not working to push savings down to find the lowest common denominator. Unfortunately, the trend seems to be continuing. According to recent reports, Super Committee members have been working on a possible package of between $500 billion and $1 trillion in savings.

November 18, 2011

After an eleventh-hour deal that included a dramatic showdown in April and a minor standoff in September, it's nice to see a continuing resolution deadline that goes by without shutdown threats.

November 18, 2011

Today, Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) called for a "Sense of the Senate" resolution pushing for Congress to "Go Big" on deficit reduction using the framework of the Simpson-Bowles proposal. The resolution is a non-binding agreement that a "Go Big" approach needs to be taken towards deficit reduction.

November 17, 2011

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and many others have called on the Super Committee to find two or three times its mandated $1.5 trillion in budget savings. If the Super Committee is unable to agree on all the details before its November 23 deadline around the corner, we hope it will set the stage for continued efforts early next year to "Go Big" in order to keep the momentum going and put serious reforms in place.

November 17, 2011

With the deadline for the Super Committee to come to an agreement nearly here, the Moment of Truth Project, a project of CRFB, has released two new policy papers diving deeper into the Fiscal Commission's recommendations on how to reform federal retirement programs and Medicare cost-sharing rules. These areas of the budget can be a critical element in forging a bipartisan deal that requires shared sacrifice from everyone.

November 17, 2011
Debt Reduction Done Right: An Economic Growth Strategy That Will Work

CRFB president Maya MacGuineas just wrote an essay featured in the Ripon Forum. She writes that the debate over whether the "debt crisis" or the "jobs crisis" is more important misses the point that they are not mutually exclusive and that we can do both at the same time. She argues that debt reduction is a critical element of any economic growth strategy.

November 16, 2011

It's clear that any solution to control our rising debt will have to be bipartisan, not only to enact savings put to see them through and ensure they materialize. That's why CRFB is committed to a bipartisan approach, and is willing to work with lawmakers across the political spectrum who want to tackle our debt challenges.

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