Earlier this year something unprecedented and potentially revolutionary happened in the Senate even though (and yet) few people took notice—eleven senators who previously had been governors officially launched the Former Governors Caucus and with its creation, the governors provided a new path to bring reason, compromise, civility and yes, legislating, back to Congress.
Pragmatic leadership has long been the foundation of American democracy and the source of our political stability. After a year of unseemly partisan wrangling – with the extremes of both parties holding hostage issues ranging from entitlement and tax reform to judicial nominees to health care to immigration – the last weeks of 2013 offered a rare and welcome glimpse of bipartisan competence.
The changes to military pensions will affect only retirees who are still of working age. Unlike civil service pensions, military pensions are payable to working-age retirees (as young as age 38, in the case of a servicemember who joined at age 18 and retired after 20 years of service). The Murray-Ryan agreement would reduce the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for working-age military retirees to inflation minus 1 percent starting in 2015, generating savings. Once military retirees reach the age of 62, however, pension payments would be restored to what retirees would have received if the lower cost-of-living adjustment had never applied – this is often referred to as a “catch up.”
What opportunities and challenges will immigration reform pose for future housing demand, housing markets, and/or economic revitalization?
Closing a New Generation Gap
By Lawrence Yun
The rate of home ownership among immigrants is largely a function of how long people have been in the United States. For those in the country less than five years, the homeownership rate is below 20 percent but climbs to almost 80 percent by their 40th year. That means past immigration will help boost current home buying demand and more recent arrivals will assist future demand.
A Modest Volcker Rule
By Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative Co-Chair Phillip Swagel
“In putting out the rule, the federal regulators stated that they would collect and analyze data relating to firms’ trading activities, and make adjustments in response. This data-driven approach featuring flexibility and a staged implementation matches the recommendations of a report from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative.”
Earlier this week, BPC welcomed The Wall Street Journal's Deborah Solomon to moderate a discussion with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Mike Johanns (R-NE). They proposed legislation to amend Dodd-Frank for non-bank entities such as insurance companies. Although there were some philosophical differences between the two legislators, it was clear that the two were in agreement: applying bank-centric capital requirements on insurance companies does not make sense.
Insights from a group of health care leaders in a meeting convened by the Bipartisan Policy Center and Health Affairs and chaired by former Senate Majority Leader and BPC Health Project Co-Chair Bill Frist, MD, were captured in a blog authored by BPC Health Innovation Director Janet Marchibroda and Health Affairs Blog Editor Chris Fleming and published in December 2013 by Health Affairs.
Recently, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it will begin accepting 2013 tax returns on January 31, 2014, ten days later than originally planned due to delays associated with the government shutdown. This action will likely cause the X Date – the day upon which the federal government has reached the debt limit, run out of borrowing ability, and cannot meet all of its financial obligations in full and on time – to occur somewhat earlier than it would have otherwise.
Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its first updated estimate of the effect of the sequester on outlays (actual spending) since the March implementation of sequestration. CBO projects that the defense sequester cuts to discretionary outlays will ramp up steeply during Fiscal Years (FY) 2014 and 2015, from a $29 billion cut in FY 2014 to $43 billion in FY 2015.