House Passes Measure to Replace Defense Trigger With Safety Net Cuts

By: Thursday May 10, 2012 3:01 pm

Setting up a showdown over federal spending, the House of Representatives today narrowly passed a bill that would replace the cuts from the defense side of the trigger, part of the debt limit deal of last year, mostly with cuts to federal workers and the social safety net.


A Look at Paul Ryan’s Fantasy GOP House Budget

By: Wednesday March 21, 2012 6:15 am

The Ryan budget has appeared as a chairman’s mark. It’s a long document written in Congress-ese, but I’ve already gone over some of the main points. Here are a couple other tidbits, including why the revenue and spending caps are implausible and the automatic mechanism that requires the President to “fix” to Social Security.

Senate Democrats Stand Ground, Refuse to Support Block Granting of Medicaid

By: Friday June 10, 2011 3:05 pm

Many have feared that, with the Paul Ryan plan to end Medicare getting so much attention, Congress would downshift to a safety valve, the Paul Ryan plan to cripple Medicaid, as part of a deficit reduction deal. Under the Ryan plan, Medicaid would be turned into a block grant, which means that state policymakers would be allowed to change the program as they see fit, and that the program would not get funding based on need, but a flat amount that would not rise in a recession, when more people become poor and qualify for Medicaid. Experts estimate that tens of millions of people would lose Medicaid coverage as a result, and considering that fully half of the coverage expansion from the Affordable Care Act comes from increases to Medicaid, the increase in the ranks of the uninsured would simply be magnified.

But rather than roll over for this, enough Senate Democrats to sustain a filibuster have said that they won’t allow it.

Reconciliation: How to Implement a Grand Bargain Without Liberal Support

By: Wednesday May 25, 2011 7:45 am

In theory, the win for Kathy Hochul in NY-26 should give Democrats tremendous leverage in the budget fight. Republicans have to be searching for an exit strategy, with their Medicare phase-out plan this unpopular and this resonant in elections. They alienated the biggest demographic portion of their base for no real reason, and politically this will haunt them for years.

But as I said earlier, just because Democrats have a good hand to play doesn’t mean they’ll play it.

Biden Debt Limit Talks Today to Cover Medicare, Medicaid

By: Tuesday May 24, 2011 6:15 am

As much as the Ryan budget was a catastrophic political mistake for House Republicans, these talks – particularly today’s focus – offers an opportunity for Ryan and the GOP to save face. If they get a budget deal, especially one with cuts to Medicare or Medicaid, they can credibly say that their boldness to talk frankly about entitlements ended up succeeding in chipping away at the problem. And Democrats could hardly position themselves as the defenders of Medicare if they enact a grand bargain that shifts cost-sharing onto seniors.

Congress Could Use Reconciliation Process for Deficit “Grand Bargain”

By: Friday May 20, 2011 6:53 am

There’s your real reason for the delay. A reconciliation bill would only need 50 votes. There’s nothing untoward about this; in fact, reconciliation was built for deficit reduction. Of course, the House would have to comply with this as well, but seeing that this makes any deal much easier to implement, I assume they’d go along with a reconciliation strategy. So this makes any bill harder for liberal Democrats to stop. Harder for Tea Party Republicans as well, but in the Senate that’s not big enough a faction.

Under House Republicans, Reconciliation Can Increase the Deficit

By: Tuesday December 28, 2010 11:55 am

This is similar to “Cut-Go,” the new version of paygo brought forward by House Republicans, mandating that all spending bills must get offset with spending cuts elsewhere and not tax increases. The entire House GOP rulebook greases the skids for tax cuts without any restrictions on how they affect the deficit.

House Dems Give Up on Governing

By: Monday May 10, 2010 12:25 pm

Republicans no longer need to prove that Democrats are incapable of governing. The Democrats are doing that job for them.

Budget Will Have Reconciliation Instructions: Big Opportunity for Progressives?

By: Tuesday April 20, 2010 4:30 pm

Well, that was very quick turn around. In 24 hours, Democrats went from not asking for budget reconciliation instructions to planing to include them. This is potentially very good news for progressives. Reconciliation at least gives Democrats the option of possibly achieving some progressive legislative victories this year.

Budget Without Reconciliation Instructions: Just Call It the “Joe Lieberman Empowerment Act of 2010″

By: Tuesday April 20, 2010 8:30 am

Given the many potential uses for reconciliation, progressives should all pay very close attention to exactly what instructions — if any — are included in the budget. The earlier the effective date and broader the scope, the better. A potential reconciliation bill remains the only hope of any meaningful changes this year. Without reconciliation instructions, it will take the support of Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman and at least one Republican for anything to pass the Senate for the next year.

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