Budget Process and Rules
Pawlenty of Ideas – GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty gave a speech in Chicago on Tuesday where he laid out his fiscal and economic policy agenda. Among his proposals are reforming the tax code by eliminating many tax breaks (see our ideas for tax expenditures) while reducing tax rates. He also called for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S.
Feeling the Heat – As most of us return to work this week nursing sunburns and swapping stories of grilling glory, the heat is on in Washington, at least on one side of Capitol Hill. Senators are out of town this week, but Representatives are working on appropriations. Meanwhile, the debt limit deadline continues to draw closer.
Crunch Time – The playoffs are well underway in the NBA and NHL. A playoff atmosphere is also brewing in Washington even though the home teams are not in the picture. A debt limit deadline and several teams competing for debt reduction glory are creating an air of anticipation and trepidation. Who will go home and who will go all the way?
What Will Bloom This Month? – In April we were showered with fiscal policy developments: namely, a last-minute FY 2011 budget deal; a deluge of budget plans from across the political spectrum (see here, here, here and here ); House passage of a FY 2012 budget resolution; a major fiscal policy speech from President Obama along with a new fiscal framework; and a steady stream of budget process ideas.
Wedding Vows and Vows Kept – Last week the royal wedding in England between William and Kate garnered a great deal of attention on this side of the pond. Meanwhile another union seemed to blossom in this country – the pairing of a debt limit increase with some type of trigger mechanism. Now, the word that Osama Bin Laden has been killed and buried at sea puts an end to the quest for the man most responsible for the 9/11 attacks and finally fulfills a promise to bring him to justice that spanned two administrations.
“Trigger” has become the term du jour in the budget world as of late, particularly as it relates to the debt limit, and it doesn’t refer to shooting ourselves in the foot. On the contrary, agreement on a debt or deficit trigger could be just the thing to help us come together on raising the statutory debt ceiling and avoid facing the firing squad.
Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), proposed adding a "deficit cap" to forthcoming legislation to increase the debt ceiling. While the details of this deficit cap are as of yet unknown, in theory, it sounds like a mechanism similar to the "debt failsafe" that President Obama proposed within his Budget Framework. A deficit trigger would presumably require deficits to be at or below a