Budget Process and Rules
While it is incredibly disappointing that elected officials in Washington failed to avoid a government shutdown, attention is quickly turning towards raising the federal debt ceiling, which currently stands at $16.699 trillion.
Congress faces a number of looming fiscal crises this fall, and the first obstacle is just around the corner -- if lawmakers fail to pass legislation to fund federal programs before September 30, the government will shut down. Today, CRFB released a new Q&A for understanding government shutdowns and related issues, including continuing resolutions and the federal appropriations process. This new resource also provides a historical and legislative background to the upcoming fiscal
With the debt limit approaching and another showdown looming, the focus of some policymakers may naturally turn to how to avoid a similar potentially damaging impasse in the future. In that vein, Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) has introduced a bill which addresses both the need to raise the debt limit and the need to put the debt on a sustainable path.
This weekend in The New York Times, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Glenn Hubbard and the Hudson Institute's Tim Kane challenged both parties' approach to dealing with one of our of nation's most important problems and suggested ways to help maintain fiscal discipline.
Senators John Thune (R-SD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Chris Coons (D-DE) have introduced the Intergenerational Financial Obligations Reform (INFORM) Act, a bill that would encourage responsible budgeting by increasing the scope of federal budget analysis.
On May 19, the debt ceiling was reinstated as the Treasury Department began to use extraordinary measures to prevent running up against the debt limit. Extraordinary measures are expected to be exhausted sometime this fall, also when the current continuing resolution (CR) funding the government is due to expire. In addition, both parties are looking to alter the sequester in some form for future years and will have to figure out what to do with it then.
Last week, the House Budget Committee released a package of budget process reforms consisting of seven different pieces of legislation.
As the Senate worked on its FY 2014 budget resolution, which passed by a 50-49 vote late last week, hundreds of amendments were filed in a process commonly referred to as “vote-a-rama.” Most of the amendments that actually received a vote were largely symbolic, establishing non-binding “deficit-neutral reserve funds” to make it procedurally easier for Congress to make changes in the future.
Yesterday, the Fix the Debt Campaign had a event with two roundtables bringing together many health policy and tax experts from across the political spectrum to discuss two of the central issues involved in the current budget negotiations.