Economic Recovery Measures

Major Financial Reform Package Decided In Congress

Today, Congressional negotiators agreed upon a plan to reform the American financial regulation system—which, if it passes next week, would constitute the “most sweeping set of financial reforms since those that followed the Great Depression,” according to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

The Long and Winding Road: More Twists and Turns for the Extenders Bill

For weeks, Congress has been re-tooling and re-tooling the extenders bill (HR 4213), looking for 60 votes to pass. Two things have held constant: lawmakers have been unwilling to enact the bills, and lawmakers have not offset the costs. Of course, the two are related. The newest Senate bill, released on Thursday, trims the gross cost and deficit impact to $103 billion and $27 billion, respectively, from $118 billion and $55 billion.


On the eve of the G-20 in Toronto this weekend, U.S. financial markets have continued to be dominated by safe haven effects as investors (domestic and foreign) have sought what they consider the safety of Treasury instruments, particularly at the long end of the market. Safe haven effects have been driven by persistent fiscal worries about the eurozone’s ability to manage its fiscal crisis.

Steny Hoyer on Everything Fiscal

In remarks at the think tank Third Way, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer covered the bases in talking about our deficits and debt. Among the topics he covered were timing of deficit reduction, PAYGO, temporary policies, entitlements, defense, and the fiscal commission.

What's An Emergency?

The statutory PAYGO law left a gaping hole for spending designated as an emergency. Since the designation has no formal definition, it can technically be used for anything; so far, it has mainly been used to exempt stimulus spending from PAYGO. But no more! Keith Hennessey has an answer on how to define emergencies:

‘Line’ Items: Summer Arrives Edition

Summertime, but the Living Isn’t Easy in Congress – Today brings the first official day of summer, but Washington has already been experiencing searing days and the Capitol dome is about to blow off from the heat inside. The longest day of the year comes as lawmakers face a long road on appropriations and taxes, not to mention the never-ending “extenders” bill, which still has no end in sight.

“Extenders” Bill Lives Up to Its Name

Legislation to extend tax breaks that expired last year, as well as expanded social safety net provisions and relief for doctors from a steep cut in Medicare payments, continues to languish in the Senate as lawmakers cannot agree on paying for the costs of the bill.

One Stimulus Bill Passes--But Not the One You're Thinking

With much of the nation's attention focused on President Obama's oil spill address and much of the fiscal policy universe focused on the extenders bill, another bill was passed by the House on Tuesday. The Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act of 2010 (H.R. 5486) provides, as you would expect, a number of small business tax breaks, although the gross cost is expected to be very small (less than $4 billion).

Update: So How Much Does This Bill Cost Now?

The Senate released yet another version of the tax extenders and social safety net bill (The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 - H.R. 4213), decreasing the gross cost of the bill from $137 billion to $118 billion. CBO has yet to release an updated cost estimate of the bill, but press accounts report that the bill's overall deficit impact is likely between $50 and $60 billion.

Coordinating Stimulus and Consolidation

The Wall Street Journal points out that deficit aversion is coming to Washington at a bad time. Just as lawmakers are looking to provide an extra kick to the economic recovery, a growing number of them have become concerned about adding to the deficit. As the article states, President Obama has been forced into "arguing...that spending be increased and cut at the same time," and Congress has been reluctant to move on the extenders bill.

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