House of Representatives
With the new expectation that the House budget resolution will reach balance in 10 years -- more than 15 years earlier than was projected last year -- there has been much speculation about how House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) will modify last year's budget to reach the more aggressive target.
The Hill is reporting that the House Ways and Means Committee will take the next step in creating a broad tax reform plan by announcing 11 separate working groups on different components of reform. The working groups would be composed of members of both parties and will be used to lay the groundwork in these different areas, not necessarily making recommendations.
The 11 working groups would cover the following topics:
The House is pressing forward this week on debt ceiling legislation that contains a few different moving parts. The bill would buy lawmakers some more time to deal with it but would not be a full solution to avoiding breaching the debt limit.
In short, the bill would do the following:
Yesterday, Rep. Dennis A. Ross (R-FL) introduced H.R. 243, otherwise cited as the Bowles-Simpson Plan of Lowering America's Debt (BOLD) Act, a bill that contains some policies found in the Simpson-Bowles plan. The BOLD Act includes some spending cuts -- such as reducing Congressional and White House expenditures by 15%, prohibiting earmarks, reducing federal travel, and imposing an additional 3-year pay freeze on federal workers and DOD civilians -- that could be undertaken to reduce the debt.
In a bipartisan op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, Reps. Robert Dold (R-IL) and Daniel Lupinski (D-IL) endorse a two-part process that avoids the fiscal cliff and sets up a process for Congress to enact a fiscal plan next year.
President Obama met with Congressional leaders last Friday to begin working toward a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. Reportedly, the talks had an optimistic tone, and leaders seem to be willing to reconcile their differences in the coming months. However, this was not the only development that took place at the end of last week.
On Friday, President Obama spoke on the need to replace the "fiscal cliff" with a comprehensive plan to address the nation's unsustainable fiscal path. Most importantly, President Obama announced that the White House would invite leaders from both parties, business groups, labor and civic groups from across the country for a meeting this week to begin working toward a compromise.
The United States Conference of Mayors has written a letter signed by 149 mayors across the country, a bipartisan collection including the likes of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. The letter urges Congress to replace the sequester with a bipartisan, comprehensive deal that gradually stabilizes debt and puts it on a downward path as a share of the economy.
Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee and te Senate Finance Committee held a joint hearing on tax reform and the tax treatment of capital gains. Base broadening tax reform with the payoff of lower rates is one of the key components of both the Simpson-Bowles and Domenici-Rivlin plans. But in order to get the lower rates in a fiscally responsible way, everything must be on the table, and that includes capital gains.