Budget Process and Rules
Today, the Blue Dog coalition released its blueprint for fiscal reform. The group, comprised of moderate and conservative Democrats, has long been known for its commitment to fiscal responsibility.
President Obama will propose freezing "non-security" discretionary spending for the next three years (FY2011-13) when he unveils his new budget next week. It's a start. A small one, but a start. The president is using his bully pulpit to push for restrained spending. According to numerous leaks, the Obama plan will cap that spending at its current level of $447 billion, saving $15 billion next year and $250 billion over ten years. It's difficult to interpret how meaningful those numbers are until we can actually see the budget.
Senate vote on Baucus amendment (97-0 vote to exempt changes to Social Security from a statutory budget commission from fast-track vote in Congress).
Budgeteers have long argued that baselines matter. You have to know where you are going before you decide where you should be. We use baselines as benchmarks to assess the costs (or savings) of various changes in the law, and we use them to enforce certain budget rules (such as PAYGO) designed to ensure new mandatory spending and tax cuts are fully offset. Usually, though, what the baseline should look like is a budget geek discussion.
As the Senate continues its consideration of the debt ceiling today, it will consider at least three important budgetary amendments - a deficit commission supported by Senators Conrad and Gregg, statutory pay-as-you-go rules to be introduced by Senator Reid, and discretionary budget caps supported by Senators Sessions and McCaskill.
The House voted Wednesday to sustain President Obama's veto of a Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded. Huh? Confused? Why wasn't this front-page news Thursday morning? Because what looked important was simply a bit of budget cooperation between the Legislative and Executive branches of government.
This morning on NPR’s Morning Edition one of our board members, David Walker, discussed his new book, Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility. In addition to being on CRFB’s board and serving as a commissioner on the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform, Walker is president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
Last month, the International Monetary Fund released a report identifying successful measures that countries should keep in mind as they cope with government deficits and debt in the wake of the global recession, but continue to strive for responsible fiscal policies. Many countries have various “fiscal rules” intended to force a country’s lawmakers to consider the fiscal impacts of their actions, with a goal of long-term fiscal sustainability.