House of Representatives
Baseline Instinct – The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Tuesday released its much-awaited 2012 Budget and Economic Outlook. According to CBO, if current law is maintained, deficits will decrease significantly in the period from 2013-2022; but that is a big if. Under the current law baseline, a major reason that deficits will shrink is due to major revenue boosts because the 2001/2003 tax cuts will expire and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will hit more middle-income families.
Super Not So Duper – The word “super” has lost its luster lately. The failure of the Super Committee and the need for a super majority in the Senate to pass virtually anything have contributed to record-low approval ratings for Congress. Meanwhile, Super PACs are pouring unlimited funds into campaigns, resulting in even more negative advertising than usual and rising concerns that the political process is being distorted.
As we mentioned in our press release earlier this week, the House Budget Committee has been working on legislation to reform the current budget process. Three legislative proposals were advanced by the Committee on Tuesday, in addition to another on the budget resolution that will be brought up soon.
Representatives Joining Together to Resist Efforts to Turn Off the Sequester Absent Debt Reduction Agreement
Update 12/16: Representatives Welch, Miller, Van Hollen, Cleaver, and Himes formally released the letter yesterday to President Obama with over 90 signatures from House Democrats in support of not dismantling the sequester until savings are enacted.
Today, House Republicans have officially released their plan to extend the current payroll tax holiday for a year, two years of doc fixes, and a year of extended unemployment insurance. Encouragingly, the proposal joins the ranks of other plan presented over the past week or so in that specific offsets are also included to pay for the costs of policy extensions. CBO has also released a cost estimate of the proposal.
Today, Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the two leading members of the House Budget Committee, introduced a bill to give the President expedited rescission authority, a cousin of the line-item veto. The Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act would allow the President to submit discretionary spending items to Congress to cancel after spending bills have been passed. If brought to the floor, these cancellations would get an up-or-down vote in Congress.
News flash: Congress has a huge checklist to take care of. Many expiring tax provisions need to be dealt with, along with other temporary policies and the FY 2012 budget.
Doesn't this sound a lot like last year? Back in 2010, lawmakers had to deal with the 2001/2003 tax cuts, the doc fix, the AMT patch, unemployment insurance, tax "extenders", and FY 2011 appropriations -- in addition to a whole host of other non-budget-related issues -- in December.
Today, Representatives Heath Shuler (D-NC) and Mike Simpson (R-ID) held a press conference to release a new letter to the Super Committee signed by 100 members of the House. The letter was a bipartisan effort, with roughly equal representation on each side, and calls for a $4 trillion package with everything on the table, including entitlement reforms and revenues.
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.