The Balanced Budget Amendment That Isn’t About Balancing the Budget

In a move hearkening back to the Clinton era, Senate Republicans introduced a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution earlier today. All 47 members of the caucus are cosponsoring the bill, a strong show of force. But here’s the thing: this balanced budget amendment isn’t about balancing the budget.

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Our Six-Point Plan for Spending Transparency

As I wrote about yesterday in this post, last Friday the House Oversight Committee held a great hearing focusing on spending transparency. We submitted written testimony for the hearing, which you can read here. In it, we talk about the six changes Congress and the Obama administration should make to USAspending.gov, the government's spending website which is based off of one of our websites, FedSpending.org.

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Transparency Hearing Highlights Spending Data Issues

Even though Sunshine Week is officially this week, the House of Representatives got the ball rolling last Friday. The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform (say that ten times fast) held a hearing called "Transparency Through Technology: Evaluating Federal Open-Government Initiatives," although the hearing focused more on spending transparency than anything else. While one would expect that an oversight hearing in the House “evaluating” the Obama administration’s transparency efforts would be contentious, the most surprising aspect of the hearing was that it wasn’t.

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On Public Wages, Let's Hear from Business Leaders

A unionized public employee, a teabagger, and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, then looks at the teabagger and says, 'Watch out for that union guy – he wants a piece of your cookie!'

An interesting exchange occurred last week between a top government official and a group of corporate leaders attending the first meeting of President Obama's Management Advisory Board. According to Robert Brodsky of Government Executive, Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) John Berry appealed to the board to help set the record straight about "overpaid" public employees.

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CBO Monthly Budget Review, February 2011

Congressional Budget Office

The Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) Monthly Budget Review (MBR) for February is out and it has piqued deficit hawks around Washington. The thing is, though, February's MBR is just like all the rest of CBO's recent monthly budget reports: it reveals that the country spent a lot more money than it took in over the previous thirty-day period.

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Is our Country Broke?

Why do I thirst for an Orange Julius when I look at this picture?

At a news conference yesterday morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), shrugged off criticism that his party's proposed spending cuts would cost thousands of federal workers their jobs, saying, "In the last two years, under President Obama, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs. If some of those jobs are lost, so be it. We're broke." Boehner has rightly been criticized for the first and second parts of his comments, but what about the last part?

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GOP Not Cutting Defense Spending ... but It Should Be

How about cutting that second engine, Boehner?

Over the weekend, House Republicans began a coordinated campaign to defend the caucus' "$100 billion" worth of proposed cuts to the fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget. Since the proposal's release, Republicans have been taking flak for targeting non-security discretionary programs, which only make up about one-sixth of federal spending. When asked about this on the various Sunday talk shows, Republican leaders demurred, claiming defense spending is also on the chopping block. They're not telling the truth.

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Recovery Board Chairman Backs Multi-Tier Reporting

While the new Republican House seems obsessed with cutting federal spending back to pre-stimulus levels, it can be easy to forget that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is still spending money. In fact, there’s still about $100 billion in stimulus contract, grant and loan money that has yet to go out the door. And the Recovery Board, which is in charge of displaying the Recovery Act recipient reports, is still at work. This week, in a big win for transparency advocates, the Board’s chairman, Earl Devaney, announced his support for multi-tier reporting, or reporting beyond prime and sub-recipients.

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Why Baselines Matter

If you were diligently reading the news yesterday about the new House budget proposal, you might have been a little confused. It seemed like news outlets couldn’t agree on how much the House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan for the FY 2011 budget actually cut:

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House GOP Learns Cutting Spending is Hard

Remember back in September of last year, when the House Republicans released the “Pledge to America,” stating their agenda should they win the House in coming election? If not, here was one line which stuck out to us: “we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone....” Now that they are in control of the House, Republicans are quickly working to make good on that promise. Today, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released their new spending plan for fiscal year 2011, which contains cuts of... $35 billion. Looks like it isn’t quite as easy to cut spending as the new House majority thought.

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