Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

An Update of the Fiscal Speed Bumps on the Horizon

May 30, 2013

Earlier today, CRFB took a look at two of the biggest "fiscal speed bumps" remaining for the year, the exhaustion of extraordinary measures to advert the debt ceiling and the expiration of the continuing resolution funding the government, as well as how to deal with the ongoing sequester. But these are not the only speed bumps on the horizon.

Also upcoming is the expiration of lower interest rates on student loans on July 1, which the House and Senate have begun to address. January 1 will bring another scheduled Sustainable Growth Rate cut to Medicare provider payments, expiration of extended unemployment insurance benefits, and expiration of many tax extenders. Not too far down the road are the exhaustion of the highway trust fund in 2015 and the Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund in 2016.

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Not all of these "fiscal speed bumps" are necessarily bad policy, but this outlook shows how the budget is constantly in flux. Instead of waiting until the last minute to fix policies that might not be working, lawmakers should instead take a proactive approach to the budget and its problems. In that sense, these "fiscal speed bumps" are very similar to our federal debt problem, which will only become more difficult to solve the further we kick the can down the road.