Budget Resolution Report and Vote Could Come Soon

During the week of May 7, House and Senate budget resolution conferees began meeting to settle differences between the House- and Senate-passed $2.9 trillion budget resolutions. Despite a pre-emptive veto threat by the Bush administration, conferees are expected to produce a more generous and more fiscally sound budget plan than the president has proposed.

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Senate Still Without Strong Earmark Disclosure Provisions

While the House passed earmark disclosure provisions in its initial rules package in January, a stronger proposal for earmark disclosure passed by the Senate as part of a larger lobbying and ethics reform bill has languished for months. Despite the delay, recent rumors of possible action on the companion House ethics and lobbying reform bill have renewed hope the stronger Senate language on earmarks will eventually be adopted in both chambers.

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Economic Policy Institute Panel Looks beyond Balanced Budget

A balanced budget can and does have a place in a responsible fiscal policy, but it is not the only element. That was the message presented April 12, when the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) hosted a panel discussion entitled "Beyond Balanced Budget Mania." Indeed, a strict concentration on balancing the budget could have deleterious effects on the economy, continue to leave health care out the reach of millions, and contribute to the ongoing decay of national infrastructure.

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Budget Resolution Conference Faces Key Choices on PAYGO, Taxes

In the final weeks of March, the House and Senate adopted budget resolutions for Fiscal Year 2008 by narrow margins and will now turn to the task of finding a compromise resolution in conference committee. The two $2.9 trillion budget plans are broadly similar — both seek to reach a budget surplus by the year 2012, establish reserve funds to extend the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to all eligible children, and embrace pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) principles. But their slightly differing spending provisions and definitions of PAYGO, as well as a Senate amendment to extend some of President George W. Bush's middle-income tax cuts, will present some critical choices in conference.

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Understanding PAYGO: Questions and Answers

The 110th Congress has brought attention once again to a well-known but little-understood fiscal responsibility mechanism: the pay-as-you-go rule, or PAYGO. The House has already enacted a PAYGO rule. The Senate has introduced a PAYGO bill (S. 10), and is expected to pass its own PAYGO rule in the FY 2008 Budget Resolution, which is now being considered in the Senate.

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Senate Committee Adopts $2.9 Billion Budget Resolution; Floor Action Ahead

On March 15, the Senate Budget Committee approved a $2.9 billion budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2008 on a 12-11 party-line vote. The full Senate is expected to take up the measure on March 20, with 50 hours of debate, votes on numerous amendments, and a final vote scheduled before the end of the week. The House Budget Committee is set to mark up its own budget resolution, with floor action likely the week of March 26. (Click here for links to resolution summary and details.)

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Congress Set to Consider Largest Supplemental Funding Request in History

Congress will soon begin work on the largest supplemental funding bill ever requested — $99.6 billion — to continue to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other items. The request was submitted to Congress by the president in early February, when the FY 2008 budget was released. If approved, this request would add $93.4 billion to the $70 billion Congress already appropriated for the "war on terror" in FY 2007 and bring the total cost of the wars to over $500 billion.

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Legislators Introduce Competing Entitlement Commission Proposals

The 110th Congress is barely two months old, but several lawmakers have introduced proposals to create "entitlement commissions" that would be charged with formulating policies to address projected long-term fiscal challenges in Social Security and Medicare. The plans have surfaced just as there are increasing concerns on Capitol Hill about the fiscal gap — that is, the amount of spending reduction or tax increases needed to keep the national debt as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) at or below the current ratio.

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War Spending Keeps Climbing, Says CBO

A new round of defense and emergency appropriations will raise the total amount of money spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to nearly $750 billion by the end of FY 2008, according to a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

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Congress Finally Finishes FY 07 Appropriations

It took four extra months and a new Congress, but on Feb. 14, lawmakers finished the FY 2007 appropriations cycle when the Senate passed H.J.Res. 20.

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