Budget Gimmicks in the CROmnibus Bill

Congress is considering a $1.1 trillion CROmnibus bill that includes 11 of 12 full-year appropriations bills, which avoid a government shutdown and make real decisions about how the government allocates its resources. Unfortunately, it also includes a number of gimmicks that violate the spirit of budget enforcement. So far, we've found about $30 billion of transgressions. Read the statement from CRFB President Maya MacGuineas here.

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Tax Extenders Chart

Slipping Permanent Tax Breaks into the Lame Duck

After an incredibly expensive $440 billion deal to extend the tax extenders fell apart after an appropriate veto threat from the White House and concerns about the enormous cost, Congress appears to be reviving piecemeal elements of this deal by taking up some of the same permanent provisions in the last week of the lame-duck Congress. Learn more about how tax extenders add to the debt and ways to offset the cost.

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 Setting Fiscal Priorities

Marc Goldwein Testifies Before Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee

CRFB Senior Policy Director Marc Goldwein testified before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. The hearing discussed policy options to reduce health care spending. Goldwein focused on both the need to rein in health spending to control debt and the options available to do so. Click here to watch the hearing. Read Goldwein's testimony here.

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PREP graph

The PREP Plan: Paying for Reform and Extension Policies

 In coming months, Congress and the President must decide how to address “Sustainable Growth Rate” (SGR) cuts and 55 “tax extenders” that expired at the end of last year. Policymakers could also use these moments to help put the debt on a sustainable long-term path. CRFB's Paying for Reform and Extension Policies (PREP) Plan represents one such approach. 

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CRFB's Blog: The Bottom Line

It is clear that Social Security faces financial challenges. This year, its own Trustees estimated the combined trust funds would run out of reserves in 2033 while CBO estimated a 2030 exhaustion date. But yesterday, CBO released a more detailed set of numbers, which show their projections of year-by-year revenue and spending, along with a range of other possible outcomes. The results aren’t pretty.


Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Progressive Consumption Tax Act last week that would reform the tax code and change the way that tax revenue is collected, introducing a nationwide consumption tax. The additional revenue generated would be used to cut the corporate rate in half and eliminate the income tax for three-quarters of households.

The Congressional Research Service's Jane Gravelle recently put out a paper on plans to address long-term deficits and debt. The piece both goes through the many problems with the current budget outlook and different plans that have tried to address it.

December 18, 2014
How Much the Growing Debt Costs U.S. Households

Simply put, 2014 has not been a good year for the debt. While the short-term deficit improved–after growing 800% following the financial crisis–policymakers still added more than $100 billion to the debt. Because billions are hard to conceptualize, it is worth looking at this in terms of debt per household.

June 4, 2013
CRFB's latest interactive tool "The Reformer" is a handy game that allows users to design their own Social Security plan. Users can select from a wide variety of benefit and revenue changes to make the system sustainably solvent. The tool then shows the effect on the program's finances and benefit and tax levels.
September 27, 2011
If you've ever wanted to design your own corporate tax reform, now you can with our new Interactive Tax Reform Calculator. There is no question that the U.S. corporate tax system is badly in need of reform, and leaders in both parties have been pursuing this goal.

CRFB Projects

The McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative is dedicated to identifying practical improvements to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The SSDI Solutions Initiative is calling for academic papers on innovative ways to make the SSDI program better serve workers with disabilities, those who pay into the program, and the economy as a whole.

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is an unprecedented and bipartisan coalition that seeks to mobilize members of business, government, and policy communities to urge Congress and the President to enact a comprehensive debt deal.

The Moment of Truth (MOT) project is a non-profit, non-partisan effort that seeks to foster honest discussion about the nation’s fiscal challenges, the difficult choices that must be made to solve them, and the potential for bipartisan compromise that can move the debate forward and set our country on a sustainable path.