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  • 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…

  • Commentary posted May 12, 2015 by Romina Boccia Repealing Obamacare: Just a Start towards a Balanced Budget

    For the first time in more than five years, Congress has passed a budget plan. The plan would balance the budget by 2024—but only if Congress were to enact additional enabling legislation that would actually accomplish the savings included in their budget. That’s a huge “if.” This is one of Washington’s dirty secrets. Members of Congress get to claim credit for passing a…

  • Commentary posted April 13, 2015 by Romina Boccia How Do We Get Those Able to Work Off of Disability?

    With the Social Security disability-insurance (SSDI) program heading toward insolvency before the end of next year, lawmakers are looking for reforms to help individuals with disabilities but the capacity to work to return to work. Why it is so hard to get them to do so? Olga Khazan explores the question in a new piece in The Atlantic. Even those awarded benefits for a…

  • Backgrounder posted March 26, 2015 by Romina Boccia, Michael Sargent $4 Trillion and Counting: President Obama’s 2016 Budget Presents a Vision of Government Largess

    For the first time since 2010, President Obama released his annual budget on time.[1] Such punctuality is a welcome step toward normalcy in the budget process, though one wonders why it took five years for the Administration to adhere to the statutory deadline. Aside from its timeliness, there is little good that can be said about the President’s 2016 budget. Obama’s…

  • Commentary posted March 25, 2015 by Romina Boccia Why the budget matters

    Voters often wonder if Congress can ever get spending under control. Well, both the House and Senate have introduced their latest budget blueprints, so we'll soon know if they plan to keep kicking the can down the road - or get serious about reform. Why care about the budget? Because it's the only legislative document through which Congress addresses the entirety of the…

  • Issue Brief posted March 11, 2015 by Romina Boccia 7 Priorities for the 2016 Congressional Budget Resolution

    The new 114th Congress has a responsibility to address growing spending and debt. This is especially true following the post-election pledge made by House Speaker John Boehner (R–OH) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–KY) to address “a national debt that has Americans stealing from their children and grandchildren, robbing them of benefits that they will never…

  • Commentary posted February 27, 2015 by Romina Boccia 3 steps the new Congress should take to control spending and debt

    The new Congress has an opportunity to rein in growing spending and debt. They should seize it. Last year, lawmakers waived the debt limit to March 2015, then remained largely silent about the economic dangers posed by excessive federal spending and debt. The new Congress needs to address these issues with the seriousness they deserve. In a joint op-ed published the day…

  • Commentary posted February 27, 2015 by Romina Boccia After the cromnibus, how the new Congress can control spending

    It was a $1.1 trillion budget, yet spending concerns were little more than an afterthought for many senators voting on the "cromnibus." Most of the debate focused on including or eliminating certain policy changes addressed in the bill's "riders." Other budget reforms are necessary to control spending. At nearly 1,700 pages, the omnibus spending bill funds all government…

  • Backgrounder posted February 19, 2015 by Romina Boccia What Is Social Security Disability Insurance? An SSDI Primer

    Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is the federal social insurance program that provides monthly cash benefits to eligible disabled individuals and their families. In 2014, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provided these benefits to nearly 11 million disabled workers and their eligible spouses and children. Disabled workers receive an average of about…

  • Special Report posted December 8, 2014 by Romina Boccia Federal Spending by the Numbers, 2014: Government Spending Trends in Graphics, Tables, and Key Points (Including 51 Examples of Government Waste)

    Contributors Romina Boccia is Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, of the Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity, at The Heritage Foundation. John W. Fleming is Senior Data Graphics Editor at The Heritage Foundation. Spencer Woody is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage…

  • Commentary posted November 21, 2014 by Romina Boccia, Robert Rector Weakening an Asset Test Could Expand the Welfare State

    Before Congress recessed for the midterm elections, lawmakers announced plans to use the current lame-duck session to work on passing a bill called “The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.” Supporters describe the bill as a way to eliminate “barriers to work and saving by preventing dollars saved through ABLE accounts from counting against an individual’s…

  • Issue Brief posted November 12, 2014 by Romina Boccia Lame Duck Threats Congress Should Avoid

    A‌ lame duck session refers to when one Congress ‌is in session after a new one has been elected. After last week’s election, Members of Congress who lost elections or are retiring are lame ducks, who are protected from the consequences of passing politically unpopular legislation. This lame duck session is particularly important because the Republicans will take control…

  • Backgrounder posted November 10, 2014 by Robert Rector, Romina Boccia How the ABLE Act Would Expand the Welfare State

    This summer, a 14-page bill with 379 co-sponsors (193 Republicans, 186 Democrats), which is little known outside the halls of Congress, was reported out of the House Ways and Means Committee.[1] The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (H.R. 647) would establish tax-favored savings accounts, similar to “529” education savings accounts, for individuals with…

  • Issue Brief posted November 6, 2014 by Romina Boccia Triple-Dipping: Thousands of Veterans Receive More than $100,000 in Benefits Every Year

    A new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed that in 2013, nearly 60,000 disabled veterans received cash benefits from three different federal programs simultaneously.[1] More than 2,300 veterans received $100,000 or more in annual benefits each, and the highest annual benefit amounted to more than $200,000. Receiving concurrent benefits from…