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  • Center for Policy Innovation Discussion Paper posted April 11, 2014 by Patrick Louis Knudsen An Analysis of Selected Budget Process Reforms

    Since adoption of the congressional budget process in 1974, the procedure has rarely unfolded precisely on schedule or as planned. Conflicts large and small have been common, deadlines have been breached, and rules have been stretched to meet the demands of the moment. Customarily, Congress has found a way back to something resembling the “regular order” intended by the…

  • Center for Policy Innovation Discussion Paper posted December 5, 2013 by Patrick Louis Knudsen Why Congress Needs a New Budget Process

    The collapse of congressional budgeting in recent years has occurred just as the government’s fiscal outlook is approaching critical. If left unchecked, current trends will lead to unprecedented levels of federal spending as a share of U.S. economic output, far beyond taxpayers’ historical tolerance and perhaps greater than the economy can sustain. The resulting debt…

  • Commentary posted October 27, 2013 by Patrick Louis Knudsen The only worthy topic for budget talks - spending control

    Even as the recent debt-ceiling and quasi-shutdown agreement was on its way to the White House, congressional liberals already were renewing their quest for higher taxes. “I am hopeful we can now work together in a budget conference toward a balanced and bipartisan deal,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, in formally requesting…

  • Backgrounder posted August 29, 2013 by Patrick Louis Knudsen Tight Budget? Congress Can Save $42 Billion by Eliminating Bad Government Programs

    As another budget confrontation looms in September, some on Capitol Hill are already contending they cannot possibly meet the tight spending limits Congress faces in fiscal year (FY) 2014. Yet they could—if they are willing to seize the moment and eliminate a range of non-defense programs that the government should not be running, that it runs poorly, or that may be…

  • Issue Brief posted April 8, 2013 by Patrick Louis Knudsen House and Senate Budgets: A First Step Toward Restoring Congressional Budgeting

    It is no great achievement for lawmakers simply to do what the law requires of them. Still, the passage of budget resolutions last month by both houses of Congress—after the Senate’s four years of neglect—does seem noteworthy. The question now is: What next? In the absence of normal budgeting, congressional leaders have resorted to manufactured, ad hoc fiscal procedures…

  • Issue Brief posted March 11, 2013 by Alison Acosta Fraser, Patrick Louis Knudsen What the FY 2014 Budget Should Do

    With the government’s spending and debt crisis drawing nearer, the congressional budget for fiscal year (FY) 2014 marks a critical moment for the country. The chance to turn back Washington’s unyielding and unsustainable growth, led by the Obama Administration’s progressive ambitions, is shrinking. The budget must play a key part in restoring the principles that made…

  • Issue Brief posted January 10, 2013 by Patrick Louis Knudsen Fiscal Cliff Deal Added $47 Billion in Spending

    Because most of the fiscal cliff debate focused compulsively on how much Congress would raise taxes, the spending side of the argument nearly became an afterthought. This resulted in another shell game that added net spending and set up another confrontation in less than two months. The agreement delays until March 1 $110 billion in 2013 across-the-board spending cuts…

  • Issue Brief posted January 4, 2013 by Patrick Louis Knudsen, Matt A. Mayer Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill: Starting the New Year with Bloated Deficit Spending

    Just days after concluding the fiscal cliff debacle, Congress is about to embark on another spending spree—this time exploiting loopholes in the budget process to pile on new so-called emergency spending. The House on Friday will consider the first installment of a bloated $60 billion measure ostensibly aimed at providing relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Most of…

  • Issue Brief posted December 12, 2012 by Patrick Louis Knudsen Fiscal Cliff: Five Budget Tactics to Reject

    If plunging over the fiscal cliff [1] in January would threaten the nation’s economy, Congress and the President could also do harm in another way: by dodging the cliff through gimmicks and bogus budget cuts that create only illusory savings in a “grand” budget bargain. Both the White House and lawmakers have shown a propensity for claiming savings where none exist. Doing…

  • Issue Brief posted December 10, 2012 by Patrick Louis Knudsen The Fiscal Cliff and the Perils of Grand Budget Deals

    One of the major complications in the current fiscal cliff debate is that both sides are overreaching, trying to tie a near-term resolution to a sweeping deficit reduction plan that would address the longer-term budgetary crisis looming in the years ahead. They see the cliff negotiations as a stage for a “grand bargain” on the budget between the President and…

  • Commentary posted November 22, 2012 by Patrick Louis Knudsen What Congress Should do About the 'Fiscal Cliff'

    After two years of fiscal dysfunction, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders are, finally, discussing the major budgetary matters they should have resolved months ago: How to avoid driving the economy over the "fiscal cliff." Key features of that cliff are huge tax hikes and devastating cuts in defense spending — both slated to take effect automatically…

  • Backgrounder posted November 15, 2012 by Patrick Louis Knudsen $150 Billion in Spending Cuts to Offset Defense Sequestration

    Abstract: The Budget Control Act created an automatic enforcement regime that would cut federal spending by $1.2 trillion, including a devastating $55 billion per year reduction in national defense. Having failed to act all year, Congress now faces the first thrust of this “sequestration,” scheduled to start January 2. To avoid slashing defense, Congress should draw from…

  • Issue Brief posted November 14, 2012 by Patrick Louis Knudsen Fiscal Cliff: What Congress Should Do

    Having squandered most of 2012 with posturing and delay, Congress and the President are now careening toward a budgetary precipice of their own making. The so-called fiscal cliff will be reached just after New Year’s Eve—bringing a nearly $500 billion tax hike in 2013 and a devastating 10 percent reduction in national defense spending—unless lawmakers and the White House…

  • Issue Brief posted September 12, 2012 by Patrick Louis Knudsen FY 2013 Continuing Resolution: Spends Every Dollar and More

    The House Appropriations Committee website proudly displays Congress’s constitutional authority over the federal government’s purse strings: “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in Consequence of Appropriations made by law” (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7). That is about best that can be said, however, for the six-month fiscal year (FY) 2013 continuing…

  • Issue Brief posted August 22, 2012 by Patrick Louis Knudsen CBO Budget Update: Historic Deficits Continue, Recession Threatens in 2013

    Three key messages emerge from the updated budget outlook released today by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)[1]: For the fourth year in a row, the federal government in 2012 will run a budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion; The nation’s fiscal and economic challenges going forward remain both daunting and unaddressed, with continued record spending…