Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved an additional $50.5 billion in disaster funding for areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy by a 241-180 vote. Congress had previously approved $9.7 billion for flood insurance. The Senate will take up the bill next.
While most of the country is focused on the fiscal cliff, The New York Times is reporting on another cliff, this one involving the farm bill. Unlike the fiscal cliff, this one involves policies that will increase spending and deficits. If Congress is unable to agree on a farm bill before the end of the year, we would revert back to 1949 law, the last time the government made a permanent farm law.
One option on the table that has great potential to be included in a final deal is the chained CPI. As we explain in our updated paper on the chained CPI, "Measuring Up," the current CPI overstates inflation because it doesn't account for substitution between different categories as relative prices change. Today, Marc Goldwein, CRFB's Senior Policy Director, further explained this policy in a CNN radio interview using the example of ham and turkey sandwiches. You can listen below:
In a recent blog post, Jason Delisle and Alex Holt, colleagues at the New America's Foundation Education Budget Project, argue for the elimination of the interest-free benefit on Subsidized Stafford student loans.
A new report by CRFB and Moment of Truth Project consultant Paul Weinstein provides some guidance on how we could handle both our infrastructure deficit without affecting our federal deficit. How does he propose to do this? Weinstein recommends using a commission to identify wasteful spending to help pay for infrastructure investment along with deficit reduction.
First off, CRFB would like to congratulate President Obama and all of those who were elected and re-elected to the Senate and the House. CRFB is looking forward to continue working with policymakers from both sides of the aisle to help make deficit reduction a reality.
The Hill reports that some lawmakers are supporting a supplemental bill to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) recently introduced a $12 billion supplemental that would mostly go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and a supplemental has the support of the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee chair Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
As the East Coast and other communities affected by superstorm Sandy begin the work of rebuilding and assisting those who need help, the CRFB and Fix the Debt teams are keeping everyone in our thoughts. Just as there are preparedness lessons we can learn from Sandy, there are very important takeways for the federal budget too.
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) yesterday released his "Wastebook" for 2012, a laundry list of government waste and inefficiency. Coburn finds 100 examples of government spending clearly not serving its designed purpose.
Wastebook's examples include: