Economic Recovery Measures
It's no secret that the conference committee tasked with finding solutions for the expiring 2-month fix for the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance, and the doc fix is having a difficult time agreeing on how to offset the costs of any extensions. But just because coming to an agreement isn't easy doesn't mean it's time to abandon offsets altogether.
The conference committee that is tasked with extending various provisions that are set to expire at the end of this month will meet for the third time. They will be taking up the payroll tax cut, the doc fix, extended unemployment benefits, and possibly various expiring tax provisions that expired at the end of last year.
You can watch the video on C-SPAN.org here.
Remember when we said last November that Congress had a lot to do by the end of the year? Well, they took care of FY 2012 appropriations, but everything else is now left to be determined or temporarily extended by the end of February (at least they have an extra day). The payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance, and doc fix extensions that passed will expire by February 29 and there could even be pressure to extend the AMT patch and the "tax extenders" that were neglected last month.
In an op-ed for The Atlantic, CRFB Senior Policy Director Marc Goldwein made the case for offsetting the costs of the payroll tax cut, AMT patch, and unemployment benefit extension with the chained CPI. He argued that using the chained CPI, which is widely considered to be the most accurate measure of inflation available, makes both technical and budgetary sense.
News flash: Congress has a huge checklist to take care of. Many expiring tax provisions need to be dealt with, along with other temporary policies and the FY 2012 budget.
Doesn't this sound a lot like last year? Back in 2010, lawmakers had to deal with the 2001/2003 tax cuts, the doc fix, the AMT patch, unemployment insurance, tax "extenders", and FY 2011 appropriations -- in addition to a whole host of other non-budget-related issues -- in December.
The Federal Reserve's much anticipated statement came yesterday after two days of FOMC meetings, the Fed's policymaking group. As expected, they decided to take new steps to try to boost the recovery, citing weakness in the housing sector and labor market, as well as the downside risks related to some instabilities in global financial markets. (To see the steps they have previously taken, see Stimulus.org).
Yesterday evening, President Obama addressed a Joint Session of Congress to propose his newest economic recovery measure -- The American Jobs Act. The President's bill would have a $447 billion ten-year cost, which the President says would be fully paid for in the proposal he will give to the Super Committee a week from Monday recommending the Committee exceed its $1.5 trillion mandate.
Leading up to President Obama’s job speech tomorrow evening, there has been much speculation as to the measures the president will propose. The current expectations are that he will suggest a $200 - 300 billion jobs plan, including extensions of the payroll tax holiday, unemployment insurance, and certain business incentives.
With the housing market still depressed almost five years after the housing bubble burst, the Obama administration is seeking input from private investors on methods to convert foreclosed properties owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into rental homes.