It's the States' Turn

In the last year or so, we’ve seen some relatively large federal assistance provided to a few fairly large private industries. Last year, it was the $15 billion grant and loan package to “bailout” the airline industry after the September 11 attacks. At the time, it was seen as the prudent thing to do, since the federal government had grounded all flights for days until it could return some sense of security to the skies. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer explained that the assistance was necessary because "a safe, viable and effective commercial air travel system is important to America’s economy and to our way of life."

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Budget Schedule

The incoming Director of Budget and Appropriations Issues for Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), G. William Hoagland, recently gave a briefing to states about the upcoming budget. Included in this piece are some points from that briefing and other reports, as well as a tentative schedule for completing work on the FY 2003 budget and beginning the FY 2004 budget work.

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Tax Cut Fever: What the Budget Future May Hold

With the shake-up in the Administration’s economic team, the recent rise in the unemployment rate to 6% (the highest rate in eight years), and absolutely no evidence that the massive Bush tax cut has done anything but send the federal budget on a rapid spiral into deficit, a reasonable person might think that it was time for the Administration to reevaluate the idea that tax cuts are the solution to everything. The President’s economic stimulus plan, currently in the design phase, however, is expected to consist of tax cuts aimed at corporations and individuals in the higher tax brackets.

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Congress Says "No" to Extending Unemployment Benefits

The 107th Congress officially adjourned on Friday, November 22, and, in doing so, squashed the last chance unemployed workers had this year to secure a needed additional extension of their unemployment benefits. The extension of these benefits will expire on December 28.

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A Dismal Outlook for Domestic Spending

Congress officially adjourned last Friday, after passing its seventh Continuing Resolution (CR) of the year. This CR, H.J. 124, was necessary to provide the funding to keep government running because Congress was unable to pass 11 of the 13 appropriations bills for FY 2003, which began on October 1, 2002. This CR funds departments and programs at their FY 2002 levels through January 11. It appears there will be an effort to pass the FY 2003 appropriations before the President’s State of the Union address, so at least one more CR will be necessary.

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Republicans Seek to Make Bush Tax Cuts Permanent

While Republicans seem to have at least temporarily backed off efforts to pass new and costly tax cuts, including a reduction in the capital gains tax, there is renewed talk about making permanent the Bush tax cut, which is slated to expire at the end of 2010.

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U.S. Treasury Releases FY 2002 Deficit Numbers

On Friday, October 25, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mitchell Daniels released the Treasury Department’s summary of the budget results for fiscal year 2002, which ended September 30. According to this report, FY 2002 closed with a $159 billion deficit -- $2 billion larger than the $157 billion the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted in its Monthly Review earlier this month.

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"PART" And The Federal Budget

There has been little public or media attention to the “Program Assessment Performance Tool” (PART) developed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), even though its explicit and primary purpose is to evaluate and tie program “performance” to budget appropriations. OMB Is also taking this effort very seriously. Why this sudden renewed attention to “government performance?”

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Senate Passes Temporary Extension of 60-Vote Rules

By Unanimous Consent, the Senate passed a 6-month extension of its expiring "supermajority" 60-vote point of order rules late Wednesday, October 16.

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"Bi-Partisan" Economic Summit A Good Start, But We Need Much More

The Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) hosted an economic forum on October 11. Subtitled “Securing Our Economic Future,” it was billed as an attempt to offer a bi-partisan discussion of and debate about the issues underlying the nation’s economic woes. Though the point was clearly made that no Republican Members of Congress accepted the DPC’s invitation, the forum’s first panel was comprised not only of former members of Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors, but also a former Associate Director for economics in President Reagan’s Office of Management and Budget and a former economic advisor to House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX).

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