BPC Blog

With al-Qaeda and its affiliates in more countries than ever, our country can ill afford to curtail intelligence efforts

When the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified last week that the shutdown “seriously damages” our nation’s security, we must pay attention. He claims that approximately 70 percent of intelligence officials are furloughed, but the threats that emerge from the shutdown are abundant: whether due to lack of coordination, caused by those not allowed to do their important jobs; or the possible recruitment by our adversaries of a particularly disaffected laid off worker. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Measuring the Progress of a New Agency
By Rick Fischer and Eric Rodriguez, co-chairs of the Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative’s Consumer Protection Task Force

“Overall, the report concludes that when the Bureau operates in a transparent, open, and iterative manner, repeatedly seeking input from all stakeholders throughout a process, the results were generally positive. The Bureau was able to meet its statutory deadlines on a series of complex rules, while considering comments and revising initial findings to improve the final product. However, when the Bureau made unilateral decisions, rolled out initiatives, rules, or processes through a more closed, internal deliberation process, the results were far more likely to be problematic.”

Fellow Fridays is a series of profiles of BPC's roster of nine Senior Fellows. This week, we are sharing excerpts from Senator Olympia Snowe’s book, Fighting For Common Ground.

In this timely piece, she shares her passion for healthy debates and draws from the valuable lessons she learned about principled, bipartisan compromise.

The SEC says that it will use carryover funds to keep itself open for up to "a few weeks," while the CFTC is effectively shut down as a regulator

Our federal financial regulatory system was set up to emphasize independence for our regulatory agencies. A number of reasons justify that philosophy, not least of which is a desire to insulate these agencies from the political pressure they come under from all sides, particularly during crises. We want our regulators—analogous to cops on the beat protecting consumers, investors, and markets—to be able to make the right decisions, which are often also tough decisions. The government shutdown may end up highlighting a weak spot in our regulatory structure.

The government entered into a partial shutdown this week for the first time in nearly two decades. BPC has been busy providing analysis on how the shutdown impacts the economy and could shape the forthcoming debt limit debate.

BPC reviewed data from the last government shutdown, which took place over three weeks in December 1995 and January 1996

As of Tuesday, the federal government has entered a partial shutdown, as policymakers failed to pass any appropriations bills that fund many services. We have received numerous inquiries about whether a short or extended shutdown could delay the X Date, buying more time for policymakers to address the debt limit. Our analysis indicates that a short shutdown of a week or two would have a negligible impact on government spending. While a longer shutdown could have a more significant impact, there is not enough time between now and our projected X Date window for a shutdown to change the X Date by more than a couple of days.

The first indication of whether President Rouhani’s charm offensive represents an Iranian change of heart, or just rhetoric, will come October 15

Last week saw historic developments in the U.S.-Iran relationship around the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. These developments culminated in an unprecedented 15 minute phone call between President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the first direct contact between American and Iranian leaders since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979. During the call, both leaders expressed their desire to reach an expedient solution to the nuclear issue.

Most of the government’s immigration functions will carry on business as usual, but the shutdown will have some impacts

As the U.S. federal government shut down for the first time in nearly two decades on Tuesday, October 1st, hundreds of thousands of “non-essential” employees were told to stay home while Congress remains frozen in a funding deadlock. The partial federal shutdown will impact a number of government agencies—including those that provide immigration-related services.

The president hosted congressional leaders from both parties at the White House this evening to try to end the impasse

Something startling happened last week when Mariano Rivera took the mound for the final time in Yankee Stadium. Fans of all stripes, Yankee and otherwise, stood to applaud and show their admiration for one of the greatest players baseball has ever known. And baseball fans all across the nation cheered, regardless of whether they were Republicans or Democrats, Yankees fans, Mets fans – or even Red Sox fans. This was a moment in the national consciousness when all could agree: Attention must be paid.

This month marks the 27th anniversary of the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program

Throughout the program's tenure, what lessons have we learned? What key components continue to make it a successful program?

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