Federal Budget and Appropriations



Weely Round up: Congress’s rash of bipartisanship has symptoms of partisanship

Josh Huder | April 20, 2015

Bipartisan deals were the big theme this week on the Hill. This was a welcomed contrast to the last two Congresses where even routine bipartisan measures were hard to come by. In part, this was expected.  Now that Republicans control both the House and Senate, they have an interest in demonstrating an ability to


An Early Look at Prospects for the FY16 Budget

Kenneth Gold | March 31, 2015

On Wednesday last week the House passed its version of the FY16 budget resolution; and on early Friday morning the Senate passed its version. Modern budget resolutions are highly partisan vehicles, so one would assume that they’d pass easily in each chamber. And with one party in control of both the House and the Senate,


What does DHS/immigration tell us about the power of Congress and the President?

Institutional power is more of an academic topic. Nonetheless, it has enormous ramifications. The current immigration debate is a great example of that. Despite the rhetoric around the DHS debate, America has never had a dictator president – the current president included. However, the DHS/immigration debate is an interesting look into the struggle for power


Flaws in Shutdown Logic

Republicans’ flirtation with a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security intensified over the weekend. Boehner appears entrenched and suggested Sunday that a shutdown is possible. On President’s Day the dynamic changed… possibly. A federal judge in Texas recently halted the President’s executive action on immigration. Several reports suggest that this


Uncertainties Ahead for Federal Spending

Kenneth Gold | January 28, 2015

For federal departments and agencies, the most important issue in the First Session of the 114th Congress will be the shape of the FY16 congressional budget resolution, which will set the discretionary spending levels for the Appropriations Committees.  New House Budget Committee Chair Tom Price of Georgia recently told a Heritage Foundation Conference that he


Odds Are Against Another Government Shutdown, But…

Congress returns from its August recess next week, and is well positioned to conclude one of the least productive Congresses in modern history.  With less than a month before the next fiscal year begins, it would be reasonable to expect a flurry of activity surrounding last ditch efforts to pass at least some of the


Recess is Over: Congress back in Session

Congress returns from recess next week after an unexpectedly successful final week in July. Congress passed a significant Veterans health bill and temporarily extended the Highway Trust Fund. While there were breakthroughs, Congress failed to find common ground on several issues. With only 12 legislative days left before the election, here is what’s on tap.


Odds of Passing the Appropriations Bills Longer Than Those of the US Winning the World Cup

There’s no single reason for the failure to fulfill early expectations, and many observers were skeptical from the start, despite the more favorable conditions for passing the spending bills this year. The House has in fact passed five relatively non-controversial bills – Milcon/VA, Legislative Branch, Commerce/Justice/Science, Transportation/HUD, and Defense.  This week, the House is scheduled


A Caveat on Congressional Productivity

On Thursday, Chris Cillizza examined an Obama statement in Texas: “This has become the least productive Congress in modern history, recent memory. And that’s by objective measures, just basic activity.” Cillizza agrees and extrapolates this a little too far, saying this Congress is the least productive in history. By the numbers many would argue this isn’t


If Congressional Oversight Is to Be Taken Seriously, It Shouldn’t Be Packaged as a Comic Book

This post originally appeared as an op-ed in Roll Call. In December, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma issued his annual “Wastebook” that purports to highlight unnecessary and wasteful government spending both by Congress and by federal agencies. In this year’s edition, he’s especially critical of the 16-day federal government shutdown. Interestingly, he levels considerably


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