Federal Budget and Appropriations



The Federal Deficit is Shrinking Dramatically: So Why Aren’t We Celebrating?

This year’s federal budget deficit is shrinking, and shrinking faster than anyone had anticipated: surely this is good news.  There have been a number of really positive developments on the budget and the economy over the last several months, mostly unexpected.  Just last month, the House and Senate both passed budget resolutions, for the first


81 More Ways to Save Taxpayer Dollars

Like all presidential budget requests, President Obama’s FY14 budget includes recommendations for streamlining government to promote greater efficiency.  Traditionally, presidents propose cuts to programs (Obama’s budget includes 215) and encounter resistance from Congress, but this year might be different. Congressional Reaction Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) recently sounded a call


What the Budget Resolution Is, and Isn’t

As the House and Senate Budget Committees process their respective versions of the budget resolution this month, it’s useful to remind ourselves exactly what this document is about. And what it isn’t about. Here’s a quick and dirty primer: What the Budget Resolution is: • A blueprint, in the broadest terms, on what the federal


Congress and the Ulysses Solution: When Tying Your Hands Can Work; And When It Doesn’t

The sequester is in place despite Congress providing itself an expedited process meant to stave off these indiscriminate and draconian across-the-board cuts. Back in 2011, when congressional Republicans insisted on substantial spending cuts as the price of increasing the debt ceiling, the President and Speaker Boehner tried to reach a “grand bargain”. After failing in


Update on the Sequester and Its Potential Impact

With nine days to go, hope of averting the March 1 sequester continues to fade, with each side drawing a line in the sand, and little reason to believe that their differences can be breached any time soon. Last week the President again went on record demanding that any agreement to delay or cancel the


Debt Ceiling Extension Likely to Pass; No Federal Pay Freeze

Later today the House will vote on a plan to effectively lift the debt limit for four months, removing, or at least postponing, the threat of default. The bill, HR 325, temporarily extends the debt limit without seeking any concessions on spending, and allows Republicans a way to avoid having to actually cast a vote


Prospects for a Government Shutdown

With the first fiscal cliff deadline now behind them, congressional leaders and the White House have already begun to position on the next series of fiscal showdowns, which include the expiring debt ceiling, that has reportedly already been breached, although the Treasury Department can creatively manage until mid- to late February; the postponed sequester, downsized


What the Fiscal Cliff Agreement Means for FY2012 Spending

Under the fiscal cliff agreement, the sequester has been postponed for two months, to March 2. The agreement also reduces the size of the sequester, from $109 billion to $85 billion, which will be squeezed into seven months, rather than nine. Provided there are no changes prior to March 2, discretionary spending will still need


No Federal Pay Freeze in Fiscal Cliff Agreement, However…

Legislation passed by the House and Senate yesterday to avoid the fiscal cliff, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, postpones the sequester for two months, but does not contain a provision to extend the pay freeze on federal personnel. The only provision regarding federal pay prevents a cost of living adjustment to Members of


Moving Right Along: The Fiscal Cliff

Barely taking a breath after an election that kept Republicans in control of the House and Democrats in charge of the Senate and the White House, our political leaders immediately turned to the work at hand. Of course we’re talking about a constellation of pressing budget issues, aka, the “fiscal cliff”. Within two months we


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