BPC Blog

In the late spring issue of Capitol File Magazine, BPC’s own former Senator Olympia Snowe, who serves as a co-chair of our Commission on Political Reform; Vice President of Communications Eileen McMenamin; and Michele Stockwell, vice president of public policy and executive director of BPC’s advocacy network, BPCAN, made the list of the 2013 Most Influential Leaders in DC.

View photos from Saturday's BPC-Capitol File Magazine after party at the Carnegie Library.

WHCD1

Throughout the week, the BPC Housing Commission highlights news items that address critical developments in housing policy. Any views expressed in the content posted on this forum do not necessarily represent the views of the Commission, its co-chairs or the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Housing downturn spurs a boom in foreclosure-to-rental conversions

By Brady Dennis

The Washington Post

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"The real estate data firm CoreLogic estimated in a report this month that the burgeoning foreclosures-to-rental business could become a $100 billion industry this year as bigger investors get involved in hard-hit markets from Florida to California to Arizona to the Midwest." Read more here.

Every now and then in economics, as I suspect in many other fields, some piece of supposedly settled wisdom is thrown into question by a revelation of human error. Such was the case in recent days with respect to a book and several papers by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff. Reinhart and Rogoff’s research, initially published just before the financial crisis but reprised over several years (and henceforth referenced in the common academic style as “RR”), has been widely cited to make the case that excesses of public debt lead to reduced economic growth. This finding, in turn, undergirds arguments in Europe and the United States for government budget retrenchment.

Beginning on May 19, the debt limit is scheduled to come back into force at a new, higher level

Loren Adler contributed to this post.

On February 4, President Obama signed into law H.R. 325, which suspended the debt limit until May 19. At the time, we offered a detailed interpretation of this novel approach to the debt limit, along with a projection of the new X Date (the date on which Treasury would be unable to make all payments in full and on time).

Beginning on May 19, the debt limit is scheduled to come back into force at a new, higher level, reflecting deficit spending since enactment of the suspension. As such, the nation will again be up against the debt limit on May 19.*

Dodd-Frank aside, there are promising signs that a more bipartisan era for banking regulation may return

Aaron Klein and Justin Schardin contributed to this post.

In recent times, it has felt like even bipartisan agreement that a major problem exists can’t provide sufficient momentum to find legislative solutions that can garner bipartisan support. After the financial crisis of 2008, few disagreed that the financial system needed serious improvements. However, finding a bipartisan agreement in Congress for how to make those improvements was extremely difficult and was ultimately beyond reach. This is a significant departure from the historical bipartisan consensus that has shaped our nation’s financial regulatory landscape for generations.

By Kevin Clang and Michael Stubel

To get up to speed on all things BPC, check out the compilation of tweets below for a summary of the top news and commentary surrounding our recent events and policy work. One follower tweeted a picture of our new health care cost containment report queued up on her laptop for in-flight reading. Our Housing Commission report garnered praise from a Republican senator and a Democratic representative. Former Governors Buddy Roemer and Jennifer Granholm took part in one of our #EngageUSA chats. BPC's economic policy team was cited frequently in the run-up to the March 1 sequester deadline. View all the highlights below.

Can a gathering of presidents spark renewed friendships and teamwork in the years to come?

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum will be officially unveiled tomorrow in Dallas, TX on the campus of Southern Methodist University. In addition to former President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama and the remaining four living former presidents will also be in attendance. Although Bush and Obama haven’t always seen eye to eye, there historically has been a willingness of former presidents to not only refrain from criticizing their successor but to also serve as a mentor and sounding board for the sitting president to seek counsel.

The online activities of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the suspects charged with the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15, indicate that the brothers viewed extremist messages online. Online networks provide an easy way for extremists to spread their message, give advice to new radicals, and plan attacks. Arguably, the use of the Internet to radicalize and recruit homegrown terrorists is the single-most important and dangerous innovation since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

BPC’s Commission on Political Reform highlights news articles, videos and other relevant works which provide coverage on the partisan political divide and those that promote specific electoral and congressional reforms to help Americans achieve shared national goals. We circulate these articles to provide a broad view of bipartisanship, reforms and reactions. The views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent the views of the commission, its co-chairs, commissioners, or BPC.

Compiled by Abbey Brandon, Eric Larson and Dylan Keller, Communications Intern

Bipartisan Breezes Waft Through Congress

By Janet Hook, The Wall Street Journal

Lawmakers in Congress, long locked in stalemate and saddled with a "do-nothing" label, are now working across party lines on major legislation including immigration, guns and other perennially stalled issues.

A big bipartisan majority in the Senate voted Thursday to open the first wide-ranging gun-control debate in years. Bipartisan proposals to overhaul immigration laws are being hatched in the Senate and House. President Barack Obama has been wining and dining Republicans in search of partners for a budget deal. The House and Senate Budget Committee chairmen are preparing to negotiate for the first time in years. Read the full article here.

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