Budget Process and Rules
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.
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget president Maya MacGuineas has an op-ed in The Hill online today. Citing the end-of-the-year dance surrounding the appropriations bills that Congress annually participates in, MacGuineas states that although the bills will help avoid another series of stopgap Continuing Resolutions, they highlight the need for budget process reform.
In his speech today, President Obama proposed reducing the amount of money available in the TARP fund to pay for the new stimulus measure. When TARP was created, Congress authorized the Treasury to use up to $700 billion for purchasing troubled financial assets. Currently, about $300 billion remains available, and so policymakers could technically rescind part of that money to pay for new stimulus costs.