The Bottom Line

December 12, 2011

In an op-ed for The Atlantic, CRFB Senior Policy Director Marc Goldwein made the case for offsetting the costs of the payroll tax cut, AMT patch, and unemployment benefit extension with the chained CPI. He argued that using the chained CPI, which is widely considered to be the most accurate measure of inflation available, makes both technical and budgetary sense.

December 9, 2011

This Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa, the Republican presidential candidates will debate for one of the last times before the Iowa caucuses on January 3. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has several questions we would like to see the candidates answer.

December 9, 2011

Today, House Republicans have officially released their plan to extend the current payroll tax holiday for a year, two years of doc fixes, and a year of extended unemployment insurance. Encouragingly, the proposal joins the ranks of other plan presented over the past week or so in that specific offsets are also included to pay for the costs of policy extensions. CBO has also released a cost estimate of the proposal.

December 9, 2011

As we reported on The Bottom Line the other day, Republican members of the House released a set of 10 pieces of legislation they argue would improve the budget process. One of the bills, “The Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act,” has bipartisan sponsorship from Rep. Chris Van Hollen.

December 8, 2011

Ever since the three appropriations bills and the temporary continuing resolution (CR) passed Congress last month, lawmakers have refused to consider any other possibility besides passing the remaining bills by December 16, when the CR runs out. But is that changing?

December 7, 2011

Finding a way to extend the payroll tax cut, along with the many other expiring provisions this year, continues to be a dominating issue for Congress as 2011 comes to an end this month. A bipartisan proposal that includes a one-year extension of the tax cut was introduced yesterday by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

December 7, 2011

Today, the House Budget Committee released a budget reform proposal consisting of ten different pieces of legislation. The package intends to address many different aspects of budget reform, such as the budget process itself, budget concepts, and other budget-related items. Below is the full list of provisions as seen in the Budget Committee's press release.

Check back with The Bottom Line soon for analysis of these budget reform ideas.

December 6, 2011

Europe's worsening debt crisis--notably Italy's--should serve as a warning to the United States of what can happen to an otherwise steady, solvent economy whose debt is too high. In short, when debt gets so precariously high that interest payments become a very large budget line, debt markets can expand a slight decrease of confidence into a significant increase in interest rates. From there, the crisis can quickly descend into a national failure to refinance expiring bonds, and then possibly into national bankruptcy and default.

December 6, 2011

Breaking from traditional posts in our Spotlight on the States series, this blog focuses not on one state's budget, but on an issue that directly affects nearly every state's budget: the collection of sales tax from internet sources. For the past ten years, internet sales have skyrocketed as more and more shoppers take their shopping to the web.

December 5, 2011
A Weekly Update on Budget and Fiscal Policy Developments and a Look Ahead

Bowled Over – The all-knowing BCS computers have chosen LSU and Alabama to contend for the college football championship. Both teams are familiar foes and perennial contenders. The same can be said of the budget battles that will cap the year. Yearly appropriations, the doc fix, and the AMT patch continue their dominance at the top of the political agenda, along with the payroll tax holiday, which has emerged as a powerhouse in recent years.

December 5, 2011

Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) unveiled another proposal for how to both extend and expand the payroll tax cuts and pay for them, building on the two proposals last week from Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats who both called for paying for any payroll tax cuts, albeit with different offsets. Both of those proposals were voted down in the Senate, so Reid's latest bill is an attempt at compromise.

December 2, 2011

There has been lots of attention recently on the ‘Go Big’ campaign and what comes next. The latest comes from a National Journal article that begins, “The ‘go big’ proponents just won’t quit.”

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.

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