The Bottom Line

April 9, 2014

Budgets for the upcoming fiscal year have been released from the White House, House Republicans, House Democrats, the Republican Study Committee, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and the Congressional Black Caucus. All of them offer competing visions for the size and scope of government over the next decade.

April 9, 2014

Just after House Democrats released their budget this week, the Republican Study Committee has come out with its own proposal to balance the budget in just four years. The budget reduces spending by $7.4 trillion over ten years relative to their baseline, which includes a war drawdown. By 2024, the budget produces a surplus of nearly $300 billion, or 1.1 percent of GDP.

April 9, 2014

Following House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget markup last week and floor debate this week, the Congressional Black Caucus budget released yesterday joined the Progressive Caucus and the House Democrats in their effort to offer alternatives to Chairman Ryan's budget. Their budget achieves $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction (not including war drawdown savings) over the coming decade keeping deficits between 2.5 and 3 percent of GDP.

April 9, 2014

Congressman Reid Ribble (R-WI) and Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced the Long-Term Studies of Comprehensive Outcomes and Returns for the Economy Act, or Long-Term SCORE Act, today.

April 9, 2014

Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) FY 2015 budget achieves $3 trillion of its $5.1 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years from health care programs, predominantly from repealing the coverage expansions passed in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Repealing those coverage expansions alone would reduce spending by $2.1 trillion through 2024. Notably, though, Ryan’s budget leaves the ACA’s Medicare reforms in place (although also creates a reserve fund to make it easier for Congress to replace those reforms with other cuts).

April 8, 2014

Each year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) produces a report covering opportunities to reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication within the federal government. Its 2014 report, released today, is the fourth report in this annual series, which originated from an amendment authored by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) as part of the 2010 debt ceiling legislation.

April 8, 2014

This blog has corrected the amount of Medicare savings in the budget. It previously said $50 billion, but that included the cost of repealing the Medicare sequester.

April 7, 2014

The House Ways and Means Committee is holding a hearing Tuesday to consider whether to permanently extend the business tax breaks that expired at the end of 2013. In particular, the hearing will focus on the provisions extended by Camp's Tax Reform Act of 2014; the two largest of which are the research and experimentation (R&E) tax credit and Section 179 expensing.

April 7, 2014

Although the primary purpose of a budget resolution is to set spending and revenue levels to govern the consideration of legislation by Congress, it can also contain provisions regarding budget rules and scoring procedures for legislation. The budget resolution reported by the House Budget Committee contains two particularly significant provisions dealing with accounting for costs of credit programs and general revenue transfers to the highway trust fund. While these provisions are technical and arcane, they could have a significant impact on legislation if they are adopted.

April 7, 2014

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's budget would substantially reduce deficits and debt over ten years, but one remaining question is what the budget would look like over the long term. The same day the budget was released, CBO produced an analysis of the budget that runs through 2040.

April 4, 2014

Update: The House passed the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act by a 224-182 vote. Also, CBO posted a letter to Chairman Paul Ryan examining the feasibility of conducting the analyses required by some of the proposed amendments to the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act.

April 4, 2014

The Senate Finance Committee met yesterday to consider the fate of the 50-plus tax breaks that expired last year known as "tax extenders." Unfortunately, they chose to extend almost all of them for two years by adding the costs of the tax cuts to the national debt.

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"

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