Today on the Fiscal Slopes

By: Thursday November 15, 2012 3:55 pm

I don’t think this will be a regular feature, but here are a few things on everybody’s favorite cliff/slope metaphor that caught my eye at the end of the day: First of all, unions are so far following through on protecting social insurance against potential attacks from both parties: The American Federation Of State, County [...]

Report: Lawmakers, Top Officials Knowingly Received VIP Loans from Countrywide

By: Thursday July 5, 2012 12:19 pm

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Darrell Issa’s perch, has released a new report on the practice of now-defunct mortgage lender Countrywide handing out special mortgages at low rates to members of Congress and other key officials through their “VIP” program. And it does not appear to pick sides or divvy up the information [...]

Conrad’s Bowles-Simpson Rollout Has a Misstep

By: Thursday April 19, 2012 8:55 am

Let’s just say that Kent Conrad’s mark-up of the Bowles-Simpson plan yesterday in the Senate Budget Committee didn’t go according to the script. The “markup” didn’t include any votes, first of all. This was by design, but it turned the proceedings into something of a farce. Some Republicans argued that Conrad should have allowed votes [...]

Conrad Explains His Bowles-Simpson Gambit

By: Wednesday April 18, 2012 11:33 am

My experience with politicians is that they actually do tell you their plans, if you scrutinize their statements enough. Such is the case with Kent Conrad. He introduces the Bowles-Simpson plan as a baseline today in the Senate Budget Committee. But as he plainly tells Ezra Klein, the goal is not to get a budget [...]

Bowles-Simpson Returns in Senate Budget Committee

By: Tuesday April 17, 2012 1:39 pm

Kent Conrad, the retiring Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, just announced that the markup for the FY 2013 budget will commence tomorrow. And instead of creating model legislation, he will simply take the recommendations proposed by the Chairmen of the Bowles-Simpson deficit commission, popularly known as the “catfood commission,” as the baseline. Tomorrow I [...]

Senate Democrats Will Work on Budget Resolution in Committee

By: Tuesday April 10, 2012 11:04 am

The one moderately effective charge that Republicans have been making at Democrats with respect to the budget process is that the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in over 1,000 days. That’s a fairly simplistic rendering. This really only refers to a budget resolution – if there wasn’t a budget there wouldn’t be a working federal [...]

Democrats Try to Rescue CLASS Act

By: Monday September 26, 2011 9:35 am

I wrote last week about the sad and expected demise of the CLASS Act, a long-term care insurance program that was included in the Affordable Care Act. The Administration has effectively stopped implementation of the measure, and the recently departed chief actuary basically said that the office was shutting down. The main worry is over [...]

Baucus, Conrad Reportedly Not Serving on Catfood Commission II

By: Tuesday August 9, 2011 6:17 am

I was fairly certain that the Catfood Commission II, the new bipartisan supercommittee of 12 that will find at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction recommendations, which will then get fast-tracked through Congress, would be referred to colloquially as the “Conrad-Ryan Commission.” The heads of the Budget Committees of each house of Congress would get [...]

The Hidden History of the Debt Limit Hijack: Democrats Started It

By: Monday August 1, 2011 1:26 pm

I have a piece in the American Prospect today on five turning points in the debt limit fight. I think they’re actually in descending order of importance, and the biggest one is right at the top – this deal is the function of horrible economic stewardship in 2009 and 2010. OBAMA AND DEMOCRATS COULD HAVE [...]

Gang of Six Poised to Screw Up Negotiations Again

By: Thursday July 28, 2011 12:21 pm

I think people are getting a little theatrical about this Boehner showdown, with their focused whip counts and the like. The Washington Post says Boehner is still looking for votes, but I’m really not sweating this. It turns out that Boehner actually needs 216 votes, not 217, because Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) is out of the [...]

Reid Appears to Endorse McConnell Surrender Plan

By: Wednesday July 13, 2011 8:15 am

In remarks before the Senate today, Majority Leader Harry Reid appeared to endorse the Rube Goldberg plan to allow the debt limit to increase with a series of tough votes for Democrats to take. Here’s the relevant portion: I am glad to hear that the Republican Leader has come forward with a backstop proposal to [...]

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