Update: Impending Fiscal Speed Bumps
Congress approached and addressed the first impending "Fiscal Speed Bump" this week, cleanly funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with appropriations through the rest of the fiscal year. The updated set of speed bumps now have two more approaching in March - the expiration of the "doc fix" for the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and the reinstatement of the debt ceiling (though the Treasury Department's "extraordinary measures" will move the actual date for action to this fall). We wrote this week on both the prospects for the doc fix can getting kicked down the road until later this year or next and the hard deadline for the debt ceiling in the fall.
In the coming weeks, lawmakers will release their budget resolutions outlining their blueprints for Fiscal Year 2016. Their passage starts the appropriations process, which requires bills to be passed before the October 1 deadline, which coincides with the expiration of the Ryan-Murray budget deal.
Instead of waiting until the last minute, 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.
Read the complete Fiscal Speed Bumps paper here.