Obama’s Deficit Reduction Plan Has Room for Improvement

The nation is less than two months away from what could be a seminal moment in its fiscal history. In late November, the new “Super Committee,” formed by the recent debt ceiling deal, will release its set of recommendations to cut the federal budget deficit by $1.2 trillion. In an effort to influence the hectic debate the committee’s recommendations are sure to start, President Obama released on Sept. 19 a $3.3 trillion deficit reduction plan as a package of recommendations for the committee to adopt.

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Despite Debt Ceiling Deal, Future Budget Road Looks Bumpy

Although the recent debt ceiling deal theoretically brings Republicans and Democrats into agreement on spending levels for the next 10 years, the two parties remain miles apart on key budgetary issues. These fissures are likely to become apparent as Congress comes back into session and legislators begin work on a stop-gap continuing resolution over the coming weeks to stave off a government shutdown at the beginning of the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

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Debt Ceiling Deal Erodes Public Protections, Government Services

The debt ceiling deal signed into law Aug. 2 will remake the federal budget process in the years to come. The procedures put in place by the new law are complex, and the final budgetary outcome will depend on a variety of factors. With $841 billion in immediate budget cuts, and with up to $2.5 trillion in total deficit reduction over the next 10 years, the law, known as the Budget Control Act (BCA), will have a profound effect on everything from public and environmental protections to education to federal information transparency.

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Democracy Demands High Level of Super Committee Transparency

During the past week, leaders of the House and Senate announced the members of the debt ceiling deal's Super Committee. Now, all eyes are turning to the committee's co-chairs, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), to see if they will institute basic transparency standards that many within and outside government are calling for. With so much decision making power concentrated in the hands of just 12 members of Congress, the country deserves the maximum possible level of transparency in the committee's operations.

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The Biggest Loser in the Debt Ceiling Deal: American Democracy

Like everyone else in the country, at OMB Watch, we are trying to find a sliver of hope in the outcome of the debt ceiling debacle. We are relieved that default was avoided, since the immediate repercussions could have been worse than the volatility we've seen in recent days. But the debt deal effectively steals the instruments government has to try to heal our wounded economy. Financial analysts across the globe have noticed, and anxieties about the effects of sputtering U.S. consumer demand are deepening.

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Commentary: Why Congress Needs to Pass a Clean Debt Ceiling Bill

Washington is embroiled in a massive debate over raising the debt ceiling, the statute that sets a limit on the amount of money the federal government can borrow. If the ceiling is not raised before Aug. 2, the nation could default on its debt, which could create immediate and long-term damage to an economy already beset with problems.

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Budget Process Stuck at Square One and In Danger of Irrelevance

From the outside, a great deal seems to be happening with the fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget process. The House debated a "clean" bill to raise the debt ceiling and is starting to vote on its yearly appropriations bills, and the Senate just voted on four budget proposals. But looks can be deceiving: despite these recent actions, the nation's budget process is teetering on the edge of irrelevance.

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Commentary: Playing Chicken with the Debt Ceiling

Though it may be difficult to believe, Congress's budget trials and tribulations continue. While members of both parties are sorting through the details of April's fiscal year (FY) 2011 spending deal and sparring over the FY 2012 budget, the deadline to raise the nation's debt ceiling is fast approaching. Though the consequences of failing to increase the debt ceiling would be serious, some members of Congress have decided that they would rather play a game of "chicken" than address the issue in a responsible way.

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Senators Seek Medicare Transparency

A long-running dispute about access to Medicare claims data could be resolved by bills pending in the Senate. Proponents assert the measures could combat fraud and abuse in one of the federal government's most expensive programs and might also help improve health outcomes and consumer decision making.

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Analysis: Rep. Paul Ryan's FY 2012 Budget Resolution

Like all congressional budget resolutions, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-WI) fiscal year (FY) 2012 Budget Resolution is not simply a chart of preferred spending and revenue levels, it's also a political statement guided by ideology. And Ryan's ideology demands that the federal government divert ever increasing sums from middle- and low-income families to big business and high-income families.

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