Budget Process and Rules

‘Line’ Items: Commissions, Summits, Caps and Dogs

Commission Coming – The White House says President Obama will create a fiscal commission by executive order within days. Meanwhile, Republicans still have not committed to participating.

Snow Job – Just hours after Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) announced they had reached a deal on a jobs bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plowed it under, saying it was too bloated with provisions not related to creating jobs. The Senate will consider the scaled-down version Reid crafted on February 22 when it returns from its week-long President’s Day recess.

Weekend Editorial Roundup

Here are the highlights from this weekend’s editorials on fiscal and budget policy:


The New York Times criticized Republican healthcare reform proposals as not doing enough to fix the current system or to contain costs.  Proposals such as health savings accounts, high-risk pools, and allowing insurance to be purchased in any state, they argued, would either not drive down costs enough or would actually push up premiums for certain groups.

Budget Reform Proposals in the President's FY 2011 Budget

Although our initial analysis of the President's Budget focused on his ten-year budget plan, the Budget itself includes much, much more.

Experts to Congress: We Need Fiscal Goals

As D.C. slowly emerged from under the white blanket of the blizzard, discussion turned today to how the U.S. can rise out of a sea of red ink. Three fiscal experts, all members of the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform, testified before the Senate Budget Committee today on the need for the U.S. to set fiscal goals now to stabilize the debt and place the nation on a more sustainable fiscal course.

Blue Dogs Seek to Take a Bite Out of Spending

The Blue Dog Democrats, fresh off of attaining long-sought statutory PAYGO rules, are now setting their sights on capping discretionary spending. They plan to offer a proposal that goes beyond the spending freeze called for in the president’s budget.

‘Line’ Items: Washington Activities Affecting the Bottom Line

No Limit to Ploys in House Rules – The House raised the debt limit to $14.3 trillion on Thursday using a procedure that allowed members to approve the increase without a direct roll call vote on it.

Still Budgeting Through Footnotes in FY 2011

A few months ago, we pointed out that the Administration was cheating in its Mid-Session Review budget baseline. Essentially it was taking policies which President Obama had signed into law as temporary, under the stimulus bill, and assuming them as permanent. The implication being that, if the policies were a part of the baseline, they wouldn't need to be paid for when enacted.

Well, the Administration is at it again in their FY 2011 budget submission, but this time they are doing a better job of hiding it.

House Rules Stack the Deck for Debt Ceiling Increase

The stakes are high and the House is raising the limit and calling the shots. No, we’re not talking Vegas – the casinos wish they were dealing with this kind of dough – this is Washington, baby and what happens in DC … affects us all. CQ reports (subscription required) that the House of Representatives will vote today on legislation passed by the Senate last week raising the debt limit to $14.3 trillion.

Freeze Leaves Some Cold, Some Toasty

Today, CRFB released our Analysis of the President's FY 2011 Budget. We will be following-up here at The Bottom Line with shorter analyses discussing specific aspects of the budget. This is the first:

President Obama's proposed freeze on non-security discretionary spending is leaving some agencies and programs feeling colder than others. In fact, some aren't chilly at all.

No Deficit of Politics in Debt Limit Vote

Like peanut butter and jelly, diet and exercise, and bourbon and bacon (or is that just us?) PAYGO and spending caps are best when together. You wouldn't know it from the votes surrounding the debt limit increase.

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