BPC Blog

Past analysis from BPC shows that the debt ceiling confrontation in 2011 cost American taxpayers $18.9 billion over a decade

Absent action by policymakers, there is a very real chance that Treasury would not have sufficient cash-on-hand to cover all obligations due as soon as February 28. Because February historically has a high cash deficit, due to the start of tax-filing season and the payment of income tax refunds, extraordinary measures will be exhausted quickly.

Was the media coverage from the President Obama’s State of the Union address partisan? Here is a round-up of the front pages and home pages of popular news outlets. Take a look at the headlines and share your opinions, common themes and reactions in the comments. Did we miss a great article? Please share it with us.

History demonstrates that 2014 doesn’t have to be a lost year for immigration reform, health care cost containment or housing finance reform

Civil Rights Act

Appearing on the Sunday morning talk shows ahead of last night's State of the Union address, senior aides to President Obama said that the White House would pursue a number of executive actions in 2014. The plan is a sign of the president’s willingness to achieve his agenda without waiting on Congress, which seems unable to overcome partisan differences on most policy issues. However, by overusing executive action, the president could further antagonize congressional Republicans and therefore exacerbate an already tense relationship.

Eight priorities we hope to hear tonight in President Obama's State of the Union address

Through ongoing projects on the budget and fiscal policy, energy, health care, national security, housing and immigration, BPC has demonstrated that Democrats and Republicans can work together to address serious issues facing Americans.

With passage of a bipartisan budget agreement to fund the government through fiscal year 2014, there may be a new spirit of cooperation in Washington as members returned from districts having heard kudos for just doing their jobs. The budget agreement has opened a door for the president to lead the nation out of this ineffective, hyperpartisan era of governing-by-brinkmanship. I hope in today’s State of the Union and the Republican response to it, we will hear leaders talk of compromise and working together.

As the annual State of the Union Address approaches, first and foremost I hope the president will set a tone for bipartisanship and challenge both sides of the political aisle to work together on the major challenges confronting our nation; from an economy that continues to struggle to recover and create sufficient numbers of jobs, to immigration reform that should be within Congress’s grasp, to deficit reduction.

Any subsidies to those who live and work in buildings with high risk of flood damage must be better targeted

In July 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which increases the premiums charged by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This moves the program towards charging all policyholders actuarially-fair, unsubsidized premiums – a recommendation of the Domenici-Rivlin Debt Reduction Task Force. These reforms should eventually allow the NFIP to pay claims almost entirely out of its own revenues rather than continuing to rely heavily on borrowing from Treasury, as has been the case since 2005.

DOE’s program offices will have significantly more budget to work with—effectively getting back to just above where they were in 2010

The FY2014 bipartisan spending bill just passed by Congress allocates $10.2 billion for science and innovation at the U.S. Department of Energy – a $600 million (6.5%) increase over FY2013 appropriations.

The SEC and CFTC have received marginal budget increases since 2010, despite expanded responsibilities under Dodd-Frank

The omnibus spending bill passed by Congress on January 16 has important implications for two financial regulators that are covered by the agreement: the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Under the agreement, the SEC would be allocated $1.35 billion in 2014, a 2 percent increase over its appropriated 2013 budget but $324 million less than the 25 percent increase the president had requested. Similarly, Congress turned down the president’s request to grow CFTC’s budget by over 50 percent, from $205 million to $315 million, instead increasing it by just $10 million, or less than 5 percent.

As long as Iran’s nuclear program and support for sectarian strife continue, its neighbors will seek out nuclear deterrents of their own

Last week, Turkey and Japan announced a contracted deal for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to assemble Turkey’s second nuclear plant in Sinop. Surprisingly, the draft agreement contained a provision that permits Ankara to enrich uranium and extract plutonium from used nuclear fuel, which could in turn be processed to make weapons-grade material.

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