FY 2012 Budget
Though it seems we are far away from reaching a comprehensive debt deal, we can, at least for the moment, breathe a little sigh of relief. A recent report from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) reveals that Medicaid spending has slowed to a "near-record low" growth for FY 2012. This slow rate of spending growth for the program is anticipated to continue for FY 2013.
Today, October 1, marks the first day of FY 2013, with FY 2012 now in the history books. Over the past year we have seen some setbacks, like the failure of the Super Committee, but also an outpouring of support from business leaders, former politicians and officials, and ordinary Americans that gives us hope for FY 2013. Let's take a look back at the numbers for the past fiscal year:
Playoffs in Full Swing – The Packers packed it in; the Broncos got busted; the Saints went marching out; and Houston had a problem as the NFL Playoffs eliminated more contenders in the annual march towards crowning a champion. Challengers were eliminated in the presidential contest as well as former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman backed out and more may fall away after Saturday’s South Carolina primary.
Ever since the three appropriations bills and the temporary continuing resolution (CR) passed Congress last month, lawmakers have refused to consider any other possibility besides passing the remaining bills by December 16, when the CR runs out. But is that changing?
With just a month left to go before the temporary funding for FY 2012 runs out, the Senate is trying a different strategy from the one that has prevailed in Congress for the past year and a half in the upper chamber: they are actually trying to pass their appropriations bills, rather than relying on a continuing resolution. Granted, this strategy is not exactly like the 1974 Budget Act envisioned--passing the twelve appropriations bills one by one--but it is more in line with how the budget process has worked in practice.
In a letter to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf estimates the cyclical economic effects due to a slowed economy on the size of the federal deficit. He finds that cyclical effects will contribute $340 billion to the deficit this fiscal year, which is roughly one third of the $973 billion (or 6.2 percent of GDP) deficit projected for FY 2012.
In what was basically a formality, this morning the House of Representatives approved a super short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through October 4. This should clear the way for approval of a slightly less short-term CR that would fund the government through November 18.
Congress has a long checklist of things it has to do by the end of September. On Tuesday, it informally crossed one thing off when the House passed a "clean" extension of transportation programs through at least the end of the year. The Senate should pass it soon as well.
We have a deal (pending votes, of course). (UPDATE: CRFB has a press release on this deal here)