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  • Testimony posted February 3, 2016 by Romina Boccia The Debt Limit: A Key Action-Forcing Tool to Control Spending and the Debt

    Testimony before The Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations February 2, 2016 Romina Boccia Grover M. Hermann Research Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs and Deputy Director, Roe Institute The Heritage Foundation Chairman Sean P. Duffy, Ranking Member Alan Green, Members of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on…

  • Commentary posted January 29, 2016 by Paul Winfree, Romina Boccia Congress Should Spend More Time Budgeting, Not Less

    Government-by-crisis may be the new normal, but it’s highly frustrating—both on Capitol Hill and off.   Some propose easing brinksmanship budgeting by giving Congress fewer budget deadlines to meet. One popular proposal, called biennial budgeting, would extend the budget cycle from one year to two. Proponents argue that this would free up valuable congressional time…

  • Issue Brief posted October 28, 2015 by Paul Winfree, Romina Boccia, Justin T. Johnson, Daren Bakst, Nicolas Loris, James L. Gattuso, Jason Snead, Rachel Greszler, Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., David R. Burton, Curtis S. Dubay Analysis of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015

    The federal budget is on a dangerous trajectory and immediate corrective action is required. The U.S. national debt is at $18.1 trillion. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), if the government remains on its currently planned course, it will spend $7 trillion more over the next 10 years than it will receive in taxes, piling on even more debt. Heritage…

  • Commentary posted October 26, 2015 by Romina Boccia Pro-con: Should the retirement age go up?

    We’ve known it for a long time: Social Security has a math problem. The safety net for our elders takes in too little money to pay for its long-term obligations. Last year, it saw nearly $860 billion go out the door to pay for benefits and administration. Its dedicated tax revenues covered only 91 percent of that amount. Fortunately, the program continues to hold…

  • Commentary posted October 22, 2015 by Romina Boccia The Debt Ceiling Cometh: Another Chance to Rein In Spending

    The debt limit is fast approaching and once again, it has Washington in frenzy. As always, pundits are focused on the political drama: Will Congress be able to avoid the hyped doomsday scenario of “default” and, if so, when? Unfortunately, the bigger questions of whether and when Congress will gain control of the $18.1 trillion-and-growing national debt go unasked and…

  • Commentary posted September 18, 2015 by Romina Boccia Boccia: 'Wage gap' cures are worse than the disease

    For all the hand-wringing over the “wage gap” between men and women, there’s far less there than meets the eye. Once you account for factors that affect every worker’s pay level—things such as education, experience, choice of industry and occupation, career interruptions and hours worked—the so-called “gap” all but disappears. A major discrepancy exists only when…

  • Backgrounder posted September 2, 2015 by Paul Winfree, Romina Boccia, Curtis S. Dubay, Michael Sargent Blueprint for Congressional Fiscal Action in the Remainder of 2015

    Congress has set the federal government budget on a dangerous trajectory and must take corrective action now. Taxpayers pay enormous amounts of money to the government, and the government borrows additional huge amounts of money. The government uses the taxes that it collects and the money that it borrows to pay for excessive spending, including spending for…

  • Commentary posted September 1, 2015 by Romina Boccia Congress should be fiscally prudent with VA funding

    Congress is trying to figure out how best to address the recent scandal over poor medical care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). But will it make an accurate diagnosis? Lawmakers should exercise care so as to not make current problems worse and ensure that eligible veterans receive proper care in a fiscally responsible way. Costs could double There are…

  • Commentary posted September 1, 2015 by Romina Boccia Working into retirement: What Washington can do

    Seven out of 10 pre-retirees expect to work well into their retirement years, according to a new survey. Washington can adjust to this trend by changing policies that encourage Americans to retire early. A recent Merrill Lynch and Age Wave study found that 72 percent of pre-retirees (those 50 years and older) envision working during retirement. The top reasons cited for…

  • Commentary posted September 1, 2015 by Romina Boccia, Michael Sargent The debt limit is back — What now?

    It's back. The debt limit returned on Monday, March 16. And at $18.1 trillion, debt subject to the limit is roughly $1 trillion higher than when Congress temporarily suspended the limit on borrowing last year. The debt limit is the amount of debt that the Treasury may issue. In February 2014, the Treasury hit that limit: $17.2 trillion. When that happens, it serves as a…

  • Backgrounder posted July 29, 2015 by Romina Boccia Social Security: $39 Billion Deficit in 2014, Insolvent by 2035

    Social Security’s main program, also known as Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI), ran a $39 billion deficit in 2014, closing out five years of consecutive cash-flow deficits as the program’s unfunded obligations continue to grow.[1] According to the 2015 annual Trustees’ Report, the 75-year unfunded obligation of the Social Security OASI Trust Fund is $9.43 trillion,…

  • Commentary posted July 16, 2015 by Romina Boccia A Scary Thought: Could America Become the Next Greece?

    In June, Greece defaulted on a $1.73 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund. In a national referendum shortly thereafter, the Greeks strongly rejected European conditions for receiving yet another bailout. For the first time in the Eurozone’s history, the exit of one of its member countries became a very real possibility. This week, Athens dodged a steep…

  • Backgrounder posted July 15, 2015 by Romina Boccia Social Security Disability Insurance: Benefit Offsets Encourage Work—But Achieve Little to No Savings

    The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is headed toward insolvency before the end of 2016. Without congressional action, beneficiaries will see their benefits delayed or cut by nearly 20 percent. To avoid delays or drastic and indiscriminate changes in benefits for some of America’s most vulnerable program beneficiaries, Congress is considering several…

  • Commentary posted June 19, 2015 by Romina Boccia Our skyrocketing debt: Higher taxes, lower benefits loom

    Remember the national debt? It's been a while since members of Congress have warned us about it and talk of government shutdowns dominated the headlines. So, problem solved? If only. Things have been quiet on the fiscal front simply because Congress suspended the debt limit in February 2014 and the day of reckoning has yet to come. So, as with other unpleasant facts of…

  • Testimony posted June 11, 2015 by Romina Boccia Corporate Welfare Wastes Taxpayer and Economic Resources

    Testimony before the Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management United States Senate June 10, 2015 Romina Boccia Grover M. Hermann Research Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs and Research Manager The Heritage Foundation My name is Romina Boccia. I am the Grover Hermann Research Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs and Research Manager at The…