House of Representatives
Kick-off Time – Football season got underway this weekend, and the final legislative drive before the mid-term elections also commences this week. The elections will loom over the work of lawmakers as they return to work for a short period before adjourning in October, making major breakthroughs unlikely. But stranger things have happened (like the Redskins winning).
From Red Carpet to Red Ink – The Emmy Awards last night celebrated the best in TV. In Washington, the plotlines are still being written for this fall, but fiscal issues are sure to get star treatment.
An op-ed in the New York Times yesterday featured Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and his unorthodox approach to fiscal sustainability. Unlike many of his peers on the Hill, Rep. Blumenauer does not believe in extensive federal program cuts to balance the budget—but he has advocated extensively for the need to balance the budget, somehow, and soon. Pushing aside the traditional conservative vs.
House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) gave an economic speech today that was billed as setting the policy table if Republicans gain control of the House in November. If so, the table needs some more place settings.
Washington Empties Out – With both houses of Congress in recess and the president traveling, Washington feels deserted. The biggest news in DC is whether the Nats will sign Bryce Harper. Congress will return after Labor Day.
They’re Here (for a day) – The House did return briefly on Tuesday to approve $26.1 billion in state aid. The president signed the bill, which is fully offset, shortly afterwards.
CRFB has been calling for policymakers to set fiscal targets for some time. Apparently we haven’t been clear enough on what that means.
Unfortunately, some in Congress have put a bullseye on the few legislators courageous enough to offer ideas to reduce our mounting debt. The Hill today reports on leaders within the House Democratic caucus tearing into four junior members who were naïve enough to offer a measure to moderately reduce spending.
House Gone, Senate Eyeing the Exit – The House started its six-week recess Friday and the Senate will adjourn at the end of this week. Debate and a vote on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court is expected to take up a lot of the schedule, and oxygen, this week for senators.
Add another solid idea to the growing list of proposals to help improve federal budgeting and put the country on a sustainable fiscal course. Representatives Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and Charles Djou (R-HI) yesterday introduced the Truth in Spending Act (H.R. 5954).
Signaling their desire to be more austere, House and Senate appropriators continued pushing their Fiscal 2011 spending bills through the system this week, as the first measures went to the House Floor. The House passed its Transportation-HUD spending bill. It contains $67 billion in discretionary funding, which is $800 million below this year and $1.6 billion below President Obama's budget. House Republicans opposed the bill, saying the funding levels still were too high.