House of Representatives
The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing this morning on "Why Debt Matters," which included testimony by Honeywell CEO Dave Cote, former CBO and OMB director Alice Rivlin, former CBO director and American Action Forum president Douglas Holtz-Eakin, and former economic adviser to Vice President Biden and current Center on Budget and Policy Priorities fellow Jared Bernstein.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) called on Congress to lay the groundwork for a budget grand bargain. Speaking this morning, Hoyer urged members of Congress to embrace common ground to achieve "a sustainable long-term budget outlook." He described the need for a comprehensive budget bargain and highlighted several specific areas where progress can be made, such as passing comprehensive immigration reform, addressing the expired tax extenders, and shoring up the highway trust fund.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) kicked off the Congressional budget season last week by releasing its "Better Off Budget." This release marks CPC's fourth published alternative to the official House Budget. The progressive budget generally offers a more liberal alternative than that proposed by either party or the President.
In the wake of the release of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp's (R-MI) tax reform discussion draft, some misconceptions have been spread about both its potential benefits and drawbacks. In this post, we will look into four of these misconceptions.
Misconception #1: The draft raises corporate taxes by $500 billion to pay for tax cuts for individuals.
Earlier today, we wrote that the the House Republican SGR bill would add to long-term deficits by using a timing gimmick to pay for permanent costs with temporary savings. It turns out, a Democratic alternative introduce by Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) would replace this gimmick with another – the war spending gimmick.
While the relevant congressional committees recently reached agreement on a bipartisan plan to replace the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a payment structure to better incentivize high-quality, higher-value care, the question of how to pay for that reform remains unresolved.
With the debt ceiling having been reinstated last Friday, lawmakers are scrambling to come up with legislation to lift or suspend it again before extraordinary measures likely run out by the end of the month. Originally, House Republicans had planned on attaching a repeal of the military retirement cost-of-living adjustment reduction for people who joined the service prior to 2014 to a debt ceiling suspension through March 15 of next year.
The first official meeting of the conference committee is expected to occur sometime next week, at which point the conferees will begin attempting to reconcile the Senate and House budget proposals. Both budgets were passed with largely partisan support, so both Democrats and Republicans will need to look toward compromises over the next two months.
Bipartisan discussions over how to end the partial government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling are coming down to the wire as this week begins, with only three days left until October 17 -- the date that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says the U.S. government would be left with a dangerously low amount of cash on hand and default could potentially be imminent.