House Attack on Major Health Standards Likely Linked to Debt Ceiling Negotiations

With a contentious political fight brewing in Congress over the debt ceiling, Republican members of the House have indicated they are considering several “riders,” or supplemental legislative language, that would significantly limit the government’s ability to set standards that are essential for protecting public health and welfare.

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Leading Senator Calls for End of Fiscal Brinksmanship

On Sept. 17, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, spoke on the floor of the Senate and said congressional Republicans need to come to the negotiating table and end the looming fiscal standoffs that are less than two weeks away.

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The Lack of Jobs Is the Problem, Not Deficits

Budget deficits are shrinking at a breakneck pace now and will continue to do so over the next several years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which released its latest projections on the budget and the economy on May 14. Meanwhile, we have anemic jobs growth that’s worse than it should be, in large part because of all the extreme deficit reduction measures we’ve seen over the last few years.

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IRS: Tax Gap Stands at Nearly Half a Trillion

Earlier this month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released an updated analysis of the tax gap – the difference between the total amount in federal taxes owed by people and businesses, and the total paid. What did the IRS find? In 2006, the most recent year for which information is available, Americans underpaid their taxes by $450 billion. Extended over a decade, this could represent a shortfall of trillions, robbing the country of needed funds for infrastructure and other investments.

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Super Committee "Failure" Is Anything But

On Monday evening (Nov. 21), the Super Committee formally announced that it was unable to reach an agreement for reducing the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion. While others are decrying the lack of agreement by the Super Committee and calling it a failure, we at OMB Watch believe that each of us should, instead, be relieved.

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Latest Super Committee Proposals Steer Clear of Fiscal Responsibility

Members of the Super Committee appear as far apart as ever when it comes to agreeing to a deal that would reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years and the latest offer from some Democrats on the committee indicates that if a deal does actually win approval, it will be deeply irresponsible. A deal of this sort would maintain current inequities in the tax code while slashing funding for public protections and health care programs that are vital to working families and retirees.

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Public Meetings of Super Committee Few and Far Between

It's been 48 days since the Super Committee's last public meeting on Sept. 8 (and over a month passed between the Super Committee's second and third public hearings). For those of us who have been watching the Super Committee since day one, eagerly awaiting information on the specifics of its proposal for cutting $1.5 trillion dollars from the federal deficit, 48 days of radio silence not only has us on edge, it also has us questioning the Super Committee's commitment to transparency and the democratic process.

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What Happens When We Tax the "Job Creators"

I'm not sure what a "job creator" is, but for Republicans leveling criticism at Obama's recent deficit reduction proposal, a "job creator" is simply a high-income earner. They argue that because many small business owners file their taxes as individuals, if individual income tax rates on individuals are increased, it will reduce the investment capital available for small businesses to hire more people.

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How Prepared is the Budget for a Disaster?

In the past week, the East Coast saw two natural disasters, both of which were thankfully much less destructive than they otherwise could've been. These disasters do, however, remind us that the federal government plays major roles in preparation, information dissemination, emergency response, and recovery aid for natural disasters and provide people with the assistance they need and expect when catastrophe strikes.

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First Glance at the Super Committee

As per the debt ceiling deal, the Budget Control Act of 2011, a 12-member special joint committee is to be created to produce legislation that will cut the deficit by $1.5 trilliion. The majority and minority leadership of both houses are tasked with selecting three members each to sit on this so-called Super Committte. Sen. McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Reid (D-NV), and Speaker Boehner (R-OH) made their appointments earlier this week, and by making her appointments today, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rounds out the Super Committee roster.

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