Budget Process Begins to Move Along in Congress

The U.S. Capitol Building

Yesterday, while passing a rule setting debate on a supplemental spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Democratic members of the House tacked on a "budget enforcement resolution" that lays out spending priorities for the next fiscal year. Additionally, with several Appropriations subcommittees recently passing FY 2011 spending bills, it seems Congress is beginning to move the ball on the budget process.

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You Can't Say Congress Isn't Listening to the American People...

'Merican Dollars Should Stay in Merica'

When an Economist/YouGov poll came out early last month, several economics and political bloggers re-highlighted the fact that Americans, by a large majority, favor lower government spending over increased taxes in order to balance the budget, but that when asked to make hard choices refuse to cut any specific programs except for low-hanging fruit like foreign aid. According to a recent Congressional Quarterly article (subscription), it seems that members of Congress may answer the average American's wish during this year's budget process.

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Senate Budget Resolution to Call for Freezing All Non-Security Discretionary Spending

Come Git Yer Budget

Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Kent Conrad (D-SD), who released his mark for the Senate's budget resolution yesterday, is calling for $671 billion more in deficit reduction over the next five years compared to the president's budget proposal. Conrad achieves his reduction by jettisoning the president's selected discretionary caps and placing a freeze on all non-security discretionary spending over the next three fiscal years.

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Commentary: The Rocky Path toward a Budget Resolution

Regardless of which party is in power, springtime in the nation's capital always means one thing: budget debates. After the president submits his budget proposal in February, Congress has until April 15 to pass a budget resolution, a non-binding plan for the spending and revenue levels that congressional appropriations committees are to follow when creating the spending bills for the coming fiscal year. However, in election years, members of Congress are reluctant to go on record as increasing the federal budget deficit, especially since budget resolutions are not absolutely necessary to fund the federal government.

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CBO Scores Obama's Budget

I know everyone's been distracted lately with health care, the Olympics, and the last season of Lost, but the budget process has been churning away silently these past few months. While we await Congress' budget resolution on April 15, the Congressional Budget Office decided to remind us all that the process is still moving ahead by releasing an analysis of the President's budget, one which is significantly less rosy than the President's estimate.

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President Obama's Progressive Tax Initiatives

When President Obama rolled out his Fiscal Year 2011 budget in early February, many focused attention on the potential negative effects of the administration's proposed three-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending. Moreover, the possible effects of the president’s hawkish rhetoric toward the federal budget deficit dismayed those in the progressive community who are concerned with social equity. However, a detailed examination of the tax section of the president's budget reveals several progressive proposals designed to aid in the fight against poverty and bolster the middle class.

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For Regulatory Agencies, Intrigue in an Otherwise Bleak Budget

President Barack Obama's proposed budgetary spending freeze would have varying impacts on the regulatory agencies responsible for protecting public health and welfare. Oversight of industry and solving new and neglected problems may dwindle as environmental and consumer safety regulators are forced to operate in a constrained fiscal environment.

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Krugman: Unhinged Deficit Fears Create Misguided Policy Priorities

Paul Krugman

If you missed Paul Krugman’s op-ed in the New York Times this past Thursday, I strongly recommend reading it. The Nobel Prize-winning economist and Princeton scholar adroitly explains why “the sudden ubiquity of deficit scare stories,” which “isn’t being driven by any actual news,” is leading Washington to focus on the wrong fiscal priorities.

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Sound and Fury or a Tell?

The Budget Brigade never finds itself short of words when it comes to commenting on the president's budget proposal. But it is, after all, just a proposal. What is the practical effect of the president's budget? Bruce Bartlett writing at Capital Gains and Games in a great post on of the history of federal budget making says "not much."

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