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Four Tests of Budget and Debt-Limit Deals

September 10, 2013

Congress returns to work this week with the House and Senate far apart on setting funding levels for fiscal year 2014 and on raising the debt ceiling to pay for spending that Congress has already approved.  In all likelihood, policymakers will avoid a government shutdown and a default on the nation’s financial obligations, our new...

Cato’s Fundamentally Flawed Analysis

August 22, 2013

The Cato Institute released a report this week that argues that people on “welfare” are better off than low-income working families.  In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth, as we explain in our recent commentary.

Cato’s analysis makes two fundamental errors:

  • It substantially overstates
  • ...

Senate Appropriations Bill Shows Benefits of Replacing Sequestration

July 11, 2013

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the 2014 appropriations bill today for the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services (HHS), one of 12 appropriations bills Congress is supposed to enact before the fiscal year starts October 1.  The bill shows that policymakers can make modest, targeted investments in key areas like early education and medical research without...

Senate Appropriations Plan Wisely Says No to Sequestration

June 26, 2013

Our new report on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s spending plan, along with our recent report on the House Appropriations Committee plan, help explain why the two chambers are on...

Why the FAA Vote Isn’t a Model for Dealing with Sequestration

May 2, 2013

Congress’ vote to allow the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to shift funds away from other areas to pay air traffic controllers has revived questions about whether this approach can solve the many other problems associated with the sequestration budget cuts.

It can’t.

Shifting funds from airport infrastructure upgrades to day-to-day operations is not a “free lunch” — it...

Congress Addresses Flight Delays But Leaves Other Sequestration Problems Unsolved

April 26, 2013

Responding to highly publicized flight delays from the “sequestration” budget cuts, the House and Senate have voted overwhelmingly to allow the Transportation Department to shift some airport infrastructure funding to pay air traffic controllers.  To be sure, delays in air travel inconvenience travelers and harm the economy.  But many other sequestration-related cuts that receive much less...

Ryan Budget Would Make Safety Net Less Effective in Promoting and Supporting Work

March 22, 2013

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan says the safety net doesn’t do enough to promote work, but his budget — which gets nearly two-thirds of its $5 trillion in non-defense cuts from low- and moderate-income programs — proposes deep cuts in the very programs that help...

Sequestration’s Impact: It’s Real

February 25, 2013

Some skeptics have downplayed the impact of impending across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration, arguing that federal spending will remain high and growing even if the cuts take...

Reality Doesn’t Match Rhetoric on Low-Income Program Spending

January 14, 2013

“Under the current administration, we have . . . seen an explosion in the spending for welfare programs,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor claimed in support of a new, House-passed rule requiring the annual budget resolution to detail past and projected growth of entitlement programs and propose reforms to them.  The rule will “allow...

Boehner Cuts in Non-Defense Discretionary Programs Likely as Big as Automatic “Sequestration” Cuts

December 12, 2012

The tax and Medicare components of the deficit-reduction proposal that Speaker John Boehner offered last week received lots of attention, but the proposal’s $300 billion cut in discretionary programs over the next ten years attracted relatively little notice.  That reduction, however, would...