BPC Blog

In our Snaps of Service photo contest, we asked people to send us a photo of their public service. We were thrilled to receive submissions from all over the country, not to mention a number of international entries. Here are the winners:

First Place

BPC's Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative regularly highlights news articles, papers, and other important work which illuminate current and new thinking within financial regulation. We circulate these articles to provide a full view of cutting edge ideas, reactions and positions. The views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent the views of the initiative, its co-chairs, task force members, or the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Join us at our upcoming speaking engagements and events – we’re covering a broad swath of topics. As always, if you have any questions or would like to speak with someone affiliated with the Energy Project, do not hesitate to call me at 202-641-6209 or send me an email.

X Date likely to occur sometime between mid-October and mid-November

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) has updated its debt limit analysis to incorporate U.S. Treasury financial data through the end of June. The U.S. government is now operating up against its $16.7 trillion debt limit, and the Treasury is using “extraordinary measures” to temporarily create room under the limit in order to continue to pay federal obligations. Since the debt limit was reached on May 19, roughly $100 billion of extraordinary measures had been used through the end of June; roughly $175 billion remain available, along with the Treasury’s cash on hand and incoming receipts, to continue meeting obligations. As expected, an unusually large dividend payment of $66 billion was made to the U.S. Treasury on June 28, reflecting the release of a deferred tax asset by Fannie Mae, which is operating under the conservatorship of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Policymakers can raise revenue to reduce the debt while simultaneously reducing the size of the federal government

Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) and Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), the respective chairmen of the House and Senate tax-writing committees, continue to push forward with their work on tax reform. Most recently, Chairman Baucus and his committee’s ranking member, Orrin Hatch (R-UT), penned a bipartisan letter to their colleagues announcing that the committee’s deliberations over a new tax code would start with a baseline of no tax expenditures, calling on senators or others to make case-by-case arguments for why specific exemptions, deductions, credits, or exclusions should be reinserted. Although this type of tax reform – as advanced by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Domenici-Rivlin Task Force and the Simpson-Bowles Fiscal Commission – is often promoted on the grounds that it would create a simpler, fairer, and more growth-conducive system, economists Donald Marron and Eric Toder argue that such a reform should also be viewed as reducing the footprint of the federal government.*

The House of Representatives has spent the last few days debating and voting on amendments to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which passed Wednesday evening by a vote of 227-198. The table below shows the levels of budget authority recommended in the final House bill (for selected programs), along with FY 2013 appropriations levels and the Senate Appropriations Committee’s FY 2014 recommendations. The chart depicts the differences between each chamber’s recommended FY 2014 budget authority and the FY 2013 levels.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday summarized the “draconian impact” that the Pentagon estimates a Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 sequester would have on America’s national security. The letter and accompanying “Contingency Plan” aren’t news.

Almost every analysis of the impact of an FY 2014 sequester on defense confirms the secretary’s concerns. Indeed, most analysts believe that the FY 2013 sequester was ill-conceived and counter-productive for defense and non-defense discretionary accounts, alike.

Obama Pushes "Smarter, Quicker" Government Management
By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

"It's notoriously inefficient. It could save a lot of money. It could be more responsive to its customers. On Monday, 170 days into his second term, President Obama refocused his attention on the management of the bureaucracy he leads. And like many presidents before him, he said he wants to tap new technologies, unleash innovations and learn from successful private companies and his own campaigns." Read the full article here.

By Henry Cisneros

The American population is getting older every year. By 2030, there will be nearly 73 million Americans aged 65 or above and nearly nine million who are 85 or older. An overwhelming majority of these seniors will seek to remain in their own homes and communities and “age in place.”

This week, 650,000 civilian employees of the Department of Defense (DoD) begin an 11-week, one-day-a-week furlough program. Until now, only non-defense federal agencies had begun furloughs of civilian employees, with approximately 170,000 furloughed workers.

With the DoD furloughs, the impact of the Fiscal Year 2013 sequester under the Budget Control Act of 2011 begins to get serious.

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