Budget Process and Rules
Today Senate Republicans unveiled legislation (S.J. Res 10) to adopt a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution that has the support of all 47 members of the conference. Republicans had been previously split between two competing versions (S.J. Res. 3 and S.J. Res. 5). The united group will now work on gaining Democratic support. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants a vote on the proposal to accompany a vote to increase the debt limit.
In Bloom – Spring is officially here, though the weather would have one think otherwise. Frigid temperatures and even a little snow in the Washington, DC area early Sunday are indicative of how Washington often seems to resist the trends. Yet the inexorable change of seasons is upon us. The snow is already gone and the Cherry Blossoms are blooming. The Cherry Blossoms are a uniquely Washington tradition, drawing tourists by the thousands to experience their beauty and the promise of renewal that they represent.
Everyone can recognize that the budget process is broken, but unfortunately not much has been done so far to fix it. Work such as the Peterson-Pew Commission's report, Getting Back in the Black, offers some great solutions for moving forward. It seems that policymakers may finally be waking up to these ideas. Today we will see two interesting developments that may help build momentum for budget process reform in the near future.
Lots of Stopgaps, Little in Closing the Fiscal Gap – Washington averted a government shutdown last week by agreeing on a two-week continuing resolution (CR) that cuts $4 billion in spending. This is the fifth stopgap measure funding the federal government since the 2011 fiscal year began on October 1, 2010. The posturing and procrastination so far have resulted in little in the way of reducing our mounting national debt.
Last week, the White House released the President’s FY 2012 budget proposal.
Welcome to our fourth installment in our FY 2012 budget blog series! In this one, we'll focus on any budget process proposals in the budget.
Share the Love – Today’s the big day: messages will be sent, some will be showered with love, and others will feel left out. Of course, today is Budget Day, with the White House releasing its Fiscal Year 2012 budget request. [We also have a nagging feeling we should be sending flowers to loved ones for some reason.] The release of the budget will set off a debate over priorities and fiscal responsibility for next year.
Yesterday, a bipartisan group of four Representatives introduced legislation to establish a permanent sunset commission. Representatives Jim Cooper (D-TN), Aaron Schock (R-IL), Mike Quigley (D-IL), and Joe Walsh (R-IL) introduced the "Federal Program Sunset Commission Act" (H.R. 606) in an effort to abolish "duplicative, unnecessary, or inefficient programs."
Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Thomas Carper (D-DE) have joined efforts in yet another bipartisan pairing, this time to enable enhanced rescission authority for the President in order to restrain spending. Last week we saw senators reach across the aisle to propose reforms for biennial budgeting and discretionary spending caps.