17 Days to “Fiscal Cliff”

President Obama and House Speaker Boehner (R-OH) met for almost an hour yesterday at the White House to discuss issues related to the fiscal cliff, but there were no obvious signs of progress.  Instead, both sides appear to be holding fast to their partisan views on taxes and spending. This is the second face-to-face meeting… Read More


Fiscal Cliff Countdown: 26 Days

Negotiations continue between the Obama administration and congressional leaders on deficit reduction legislation that would need to be approved by Congress before the end of the year to avoid the sequester and tax increases. Last week the President released his proposal, which took a hard line on both taxes and entitlement spending, with increased tax… Read More


CR and Sequester Update

Members of Congress are discussing the possibility of approving a continuing resolution (CR) for the entire fiscal year to avoid partisan political battles and a possible government shutdown. Appropriators continue to press for completing this year’s spending bills in a lame-duck omnibus, but it’s more likely that they will be left for the next Congress…. Read More


Economic Outlook for 2013

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) yesterday released its updated “Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022.” According to CBO: “For fiscal year 2012 (which ends on September 30), the federal budget deficit will total $1.1 trillion, CBO estimates, marking the fourth year in a row with a deficit of more than $1 trillion…. Read More


Sequester “Line in the Sand” Bills

Senate Democrats are warning that they will not agree to a deal to stop across-the-board spending cuts early next year (sequester) without new revenue gained by ending tax breaks on the wealthiest Americans.  To that end, they circulated a draft bill yesterday that would spare most Americans from higher tax rates that are due to… Read More


Odds and Ends for the Week

Student Loan Interest Rates:  Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are getting close to a deal to prevent student loan rates from doubling on July 1st, from 3.4 percent up to 6.8 percent.  A deal could be announced as soon as today, although early next week seems more likely. The talks have… Read More


This Week in Congress

Congress is back in session today after a two-week break for the Easter holiday.  Appropriators in both chambers will begin moving FY 2013 annual appropriations bills this week.  The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday will start marking up its spending bills for FY 2013 with a goal of cutting federal spending by a little more… Read More


FY13 Budget Supports Research, Student Aid

The Obama Administration’s FY13 budget, released on February 13, reflects a continuing commitment to increased federal investments in research and education.  The budget would increase funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF); the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science and ARPA-E; and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) in the Department of Agriculture,… Read More


Today in Congress

The House and the Senate are expected to vote on legislation that would extend a payroll tax cut through the end of the year.  The legislation also would extend federal unemployment insurance benefits and prevent a cut in Medicare payments to physicians. The Senate holds a test vote on an amendment offered by Majority Leader… Read More


Deal on Payroll Tax, Doc Fix, Unemployment

Congressional leaders have reached a tentative deal on a payroll tax cut, extend unemployment benefits, and delay rate cuts to doctors who treat Medicare patients.  Under the proposed plan, a 2-percentage point payroll tax cut would be extended until the end of this calendar year.  The cost of this tax cut would be added to… Read More