House of Representatives
In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) presents a possible down payment on the debt as a way out of the government shutdown/debt ceiling impasse. The deal would involve entitlement reforms that have some bipartisan support and tax reform.
About the entitlement reforms, he writes:
Update: The Obama Administration has issued a veto threat for the bill, instead preferring that Congress pass a clean CR and debt ceiling increase.
Today, the Fix the Debt Campaign's Congressional Fiscal Leadership Council released an open letter signed by a group of 120 former Members of Congress, calling for the President and Congress to start addressing the nation's fiscal problems. The members express that returning to the normal budget process is essential, and recognize that while working toward a bipartisan agreement may be difficult, it is necessary:
As Congress negotiates a proposal to pass a continuing resolution and reopen the government, they may enact other policy at the same time. One such proposal was offered by the House Republicans on the eve of the shutdown, to permanently repeal the medical device tax and delay other aspects of the Affordable Care Act.
While it is incredibly disappointing that elected officials in Washington failed to avoid a government shutdown, attention is quickly turning towards raising the federal debt ceiling, which currently stands at $16.699 trillion.
Congress faces a number of looming fiscal crises this fall, and the first obstacle is just around the corner -- if lawmakers fail to pass legislation to fund federal programs before September 30, the government will shut down. Today, CRFB released a new Q&A for understanding government shutdowns and related issues, including continuing resolutions and the federal appropriations process. This new resource also provides a historical and legislative background to the upcoming fiscal
With the debt limit approaching and another showdown looming, the focus of some policymakers may naturally turn to how to avoid a similar potentially damaging impasse in the future. In that vein, Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) has introduced a bill which addresses both the need to raise the debt limit and the need to put the debt on a sustainable path.
Yesterday, the House Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill was removed from floor consideration, showing a lack of consensus in Congress regarding how to live within the existing caps. The question of how the Congress should replace sequestration in a fiscally responsible manner is becoming increasingly important with this decision.
Just as they have for tax reform, the House Ways and Means Committee has begun organizing and pressing forward on entitlement reforms, starting with a discussion draft of a proposal to switch to the chained CPI. As with all of their discussion drafts, they are allowing for public comment, in this case until August 10. The draft is a welcome entrance into the debate about how to implement the chained CPI.
The appropriations process is usually arduous, but this year may be even more so. The largest disagreement between the Senate and House, which is nowhere close to being solved, is how to deal with sequestration. The Senate Appropriations Committee is working from an overall funding level of $1,058 billion for FY 2014, as was set by the Budget Control Act caps without sequestration.