House of Representatives
No Deficit of Talk – At least there no longer is a deficit of discussion when it comes to our fiscal situation. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) gave a major address Monday night to the Economic Club of New York where he said that increasing the statutory debt limit should be accompanied by spending cuts greater than the amount of the debt limit increase.
What Will Bloom This Month? – In April we were showered with fiscal policy developments: namely, a last-minute FY 2011 budget deal; a deluge of budget plans from across the political spectrum (see here, here, here and here ); House passage of a FY 2012 budget resolution; a major fiscal policy speech from President Obama along with a new fiscal framework; and a steady stream of budget process ideas.
Wedding Vows and Vows Kept – Last week the royal wedding in England between William and Kate garnered a great deal of attention on this side of the pond. Meanwhile another union seemed to blossom in this country – the pairing of a debt limit increase with some type of trigger mechanism. Now, the word that Osama Bin Laden has been killed and buried at sea puts an end to the quest for the man most responsible for the 9/11 attacks and finally fulfills a promise to bring him to justice that spanned two administrations.
Happy Tax Day – Today is about the consequences of procrastination for the great many waiting until the last minute to file their federal income tax returns. It is also the time when the most consideration is given to the costs and benefits of the federal government.
Just in time for Tax Day on Monday, the White House website has launched a taxpayer receipt. By entering what one has paid in federal taxes, the new tool allows users to view where their tax dollars go, with results broken down by category.
Last night, Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) withdrew from consideration his substitute amendment to the FY 2012 budget resolution that will be voted on today. His remarks submitted for the Congressional Record (presented in full below) explain his reasoning for withdrawing the measure and make the case for bipartisan, comprehensive action. Rep. Cooper is to be applauded for stepping up and improving the budget debate while building more momentum toward bipartisan action on the debt and deficit.
The House and Senate today approved of legislation funding the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, ratifying the agreement reached late last week that averted a government shutdown. For good measure, lawmakers flirted with one more deadline as the “bridge CR” that has been financing government operations since last Friday night’s last-minute deal was set to expire tomorrow.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, has released his own budget proposal to counter that of Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Van Hollen's plan reaches primary balance in 2018 by reducing the deficit by over $1.2 trillion more than President Obama's official FY 2012 budget proposal. The Van Hollen budget:
Considering its role as the biggest driver of long-term deficits and debt, health spending has to be addressed in any serious long-term budget plan. And to Rep. Paul Ryan's credit, he has definitely done that in his FY 2012 budget proposal. There are numerous provisions in the proposal that deal with federal health care spending. Let's go through them:
House GOP Budget Unveiled – On Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled his fiscal year 2012 budget proposal, titled “The Path to Prosperity.” It is the Republican response to the White House budget released last month. The House Budget Committee will mark-up the bill today in an all-day session with the goal of voting on the House floor next week.