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  • Reconciliation Primer
    Posted in HBC Publications on December 13, 2016 | Preview rr

    Reconciliation: Background Section 310 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 sets out a special procedure that allows Congress to direct one or more authorizing committees to produce legislation that changes direct spending, revenue, or the debt limit to bring these levels into compliance with budget resolution policies. Reconciliation directives must be included in a concurrent resolution on the budget adopted by both Houses to be valid. In general, reconciliation directives include: · the am... Read more

  • Working Paper on Regulatory Budgeting
    Posted in HBC Publications on September 8, 2016 | Preview rr

    The exercise of government in America has become much more a matter of regulation than of legislation. In 2015, Federal agencies issued nearly 30 times as many regulations as laws that were enacted. Thus Congress cedes growing shares of its authority to an unelected fourth branch of government with ever-increasing control over Americans’ lives. The cost of regulations has been estimated at about $2 trillion a year, and one study has shown that a 10-percent increase in the quantity of Federal reg... Read more

  • Working Paper on Alternative Approaches to the Federal Budget
    Posted in HBC Publications on August 30, 2016 | Preview rr

    The Federal budget today is viewed principally on a cash basis that measures priorities mainly by how much Congress spends on them in the present. It does not contain a systematic means of applying measures of program and agency performance to budgetary decisions. It does not comprehensively evaluate the full range of policies employed to achieve national goals. It does not distinguish between spending for immediate consumption and spending with longer-term benefits. Its process begins by assumi... Read more

  • Working Paper on Making Budget Enforcement More Effective
    Posted in HBC Publications on August 23, 2016 | Preview rr

    The need for sound enforcement of spending and revenue is inherent in the practice of budgeting. A budget lacking enforcement is not a budget at all, and this dilutes Congress’s constitutional “power of the purse.” The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 has several enforcement provisions, and Congress has adopted additional rules and statutes over the years to enforce budgetary goals. Most of these have failed, however, due to poor design or because they can easily be waived or circumvented. The r... Read more

  • Working Paper on the Need for Fiscal Goals
    Posted in HBC Publications on August 16, 2016 | Preview rr

    When policymakers and the public have an understanding of the broad guidelines of government’s fiscal policy, it naturally leads to incremental budgetary targets that discipline spending and taxation. For much of America’s early history, the standard was the balanced budget. Since that principle was abandoned, no other norm emerged to take its place, and fiscal policy has been adrift. An alternative to the balanced budget standard is “fiscal sustainability” – but its definition is elusive. It ma... Read more

  • Working Paper on the Need to Control Automatic Spending and Unauthorized Programs
    Posted in HBC Publications on August 9, 2016 | Preview rr

    The prevalence of automatic spending in the Federal budget threatens to overwhelm fiscal policy and the economy. More than two-thirds of Federal spending (including interest payments) runs on effectively permanent authorizations, and Congress sets no limits on the totals. This form of spending, mostly for the government’s entitlement programs, is the sole cause of spending growth as a share of the economy, and the main contributor to the government’s mounting debt – which has reached its highest... Read more

  • Working Paper on Reclaiming Constitutional Authority Through the “Power of the Purse”
    Posted in HBC Publications on August 2, 2016 | Preview rr

    Choosing priorities and allocating financial resources is the most straight-forward way for a legislature to shape governing policies. Moreover, a government’s budgeting system is central to determining the kind of governing system a country has. Hence, a vigorous practice of budgeting is fundamental to Congress’s policymaking authority under Article I of the Constitution. The United States’ Federal Government is not a parliamentary system. To the extent Congress cedes control of the budget, the... Read more

  • The Need for Macroeconomic Scoring
    Posted in HBC Publications on December 23, 2014 | Preview rr

    Elected officials can’t strengthen the economy if they don’t even know how their decisions affect the economy. For that very reason, Congress relies on two nonpartisan organizations to prepare cost estimates of legislation: the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation.[1] And for that same reason, the House is modifying one of its rules to make greater use of their work. A cost estimate is like a price tag. It adds up all the expected changes in revenue and outlays over a ... Read more

  • Higher Education: A Contrast in Commitment
    Posted in HBC Publications on May 21, 2014 | Preview rr
    Tags: Education

    Higher Education in Brief Pell Grants: Maintains the current maximum award ($5,730). Income-Based Repayment: Caps loan payments to 15 percent of discretionary income and forgives loan balance after 25 years. Stafford Loans: Eliminates the subsidy for interest costs that accrue while students are in school. Pell Grants The House-passed budget maintains the current maximum award ($5,730) for the Pell Grant program. The Pell Grant program is on an unsustainable course. Costs have skyrocketed in rec... Read more

  • President Obama’s Tax-Hike Hypocrisy
    Posted in HBC Publications on April 8, 2014 | Preview rr
    Tags: FY 2015 House Budget

    In Brief: President Obama proposed a $1.8 trillion tax increase on hardworking families. House Republicans proposed revenue-neutral tax reform to create jobs. President Obama invents phony statistics to mask his tax-hike hypocrisy. __________________________ The President claims the House Republican budget hands out “massive tax cuts to households making more than $1 million a year.” But that’s simply not true. This budget calls for revenue-neutral tax reform that both broadens the tax base and ... Read more