Line Items: Inauguration Edition
New Term of Office, New Terms of Debate? – President Obama kicked-off his second term on Monday with the official inauguration ceremonies in Washington, DC. Amid the balls, parade, alleged lip-syncing of the national anthem and eye-rolls, President Obama gave an inaugural address setting the tone for the next four years. He mentioned revamping the tax code and stated, "We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit." He also spoke of reducing income inequality, tackling climate change, passing immigration reform, and bolstering gay rights. How he manages to deal with all these issues will be a key question. Perhaps Obama's State of the Union address on February 12 will shed some light.
Putting a Lid on the Debt Ceiling...for Now – On Wednesday, the House will vote on legislation to suspend the statutory debt limit through May 18, putting off a fight over raising the debt ceiling until policymakers have dealt with the sequester and funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year, assuming they don’t kick the can again on these matters. The bill also will attempt to place more pressure on Congress to produce a budget for fiscal year 2014 in a timely manner by withholding pay for members of Congress if each respective chamber does not pass a budget resolution by April 15. The White House has said it will not veto such a measure if it reaches the President's desk. Many prominent experts, like former Senate Budget Committee Chair Judd Gregg (R-NH), have warned against brinksmanship with the debt ceiling, arguing that the economic consequences are too grave. Follow debt limit developments here.
Plenty of Fiscal "Speed Bumps" Remain – Like the inaugural parade that seemed to have no end, there is a long line of fiscal events in the coming months and years that will vex lawmakers and could affect the economy. We have a new infographic highlighting these fiscal speed bumps. The best way to avoid these speed bumps is to enact a comprehensive fiscal plan.
Senate Promises a Budget – Senate leaders are promising that the chamber will produce a budget for the first time in four years. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, says the Senate will produce a budget that will include revenue-raising tax reform, likely by reducing tax expenditures. Including tax reform under budget reconciliation rules will protect it from a filibuster, requiring only a simple majority to pass.
Senate to Vote on Sandy Aid – The Senate this week is expected to vote on the $50.5 billion in aid to Hurricane Sandy victims approved by the House last week. Negotiations over changing filibuster rules delayed an expected vote soon.
Key Upcoming Dates (all times are ET)
- House Appropriations Committee organization meeting for the 113th Congress at 11 am.
- Bureau of Economic Analysis releases advance estimate of 2012 4th quarter and annual GDP.
- Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics releases January 2013 employment data.
- By law, the President's budget must be submitted by the first Monday in February, occurring February 4 this year. The deadline will likely be missed this year because of the fiscal cliff.
- President Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.
- Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics releases January 2013 Consumer Price Index data.
- Bureau of Economic Analysis releases second estimate of 2012 4th quarter and annual GDP.
- Across-the-board cuts to defense and non-defense discretionary spending prescribed in the Budget Control Act, known as "sequestration," will take effect.
- Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics releases February 2013 employment data.
- Current continuing resolution (CR) funding the federal government expires.
- Bureau of Economic Analysis releases third estimate of 2012 4th quarter and annual GDP.