budget

Do Debt and Deficits Matter? It Depends on Who's Minding U.S. Fiscal Policy: Podcast
CQ on Congress, Episode 116

Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, sits in front of books of the U.S. tax code, during a House Ways and Means Committee markup of the Republicans' tax reform plan in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Congressional Budget Office recently revised its earlier, already dire warning that the national debt will be 150 percent larger than the entire U.S. economy within 30 years — and GOP budget and tax proposals could make a bad situation much worse.

CQ News editors Patrick B. Pexton and Pete Cohn discuss the political landscape of debt and deficits heading into what could be a fateful midterm election.

Education Department’s ‘Gainful Employment’ Repeal Carries High Price Tag
Topic could come up when Senate begins debating Education Department spending

Sen. Patty Murray criticized the Education Department proposal as turning its back on students and pushing costs to taxpayers. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration’s proposal to repeal Obama-era requirements for recipients of federal student aid comes with a price tag of about $5.3 billion over a decade, a figure that is already giving critics ammunition as the Senate prepares to turn to Education Department appropriations this week.

The administration’s proposed rulemaking would rescind 2014 regulations requiring colleges and universities to ensure graduates have low debt-to-income ratios or risk losing access to loans and grants that help students afford to attend their programs. The proposal will be open for a 30-day comment period once it’s published in the Federal Register on Tuesday before the department can turn to drafting a final rule.

Congressional Budget Office Revises Economic Forecast Downward
Director warns that projections are ‘inherently uncertain’

The Congressional Budget Office is revising downward its forecast of the country's economic growth for 2018. CBO Director Keith Hall, pictured, warns, though, that such projections are "inherently uncertain." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Congressional Budget Office projects the economy to grow at a rate of 3.1 percent in 2018, a slight revision to the 3.3 percent growth rate the agency forecast in April.

The CBO attributed the slight decline in its gross domestic product estimate this year to revised projections of discretionary spending and interest rates.

California Wildfires Headed to Capitol Hill
Funding fire suppression a looming issue

A firefighting helicopter drops water as the Holy Fire burns near homes on Friday in Lake Elsinore, California. Wildfires continue to burn in the state. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Lawmakers thought they fixed the U.S. Forest Service’s “fire borrowing” problem earlier this year. But the breadth and intensity of fires scorching the West this year is likely to prompt the agency to raid other accounts one last time before budgetary changes go into effect in fiscal 2020.

The issue could come to a head once again on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks and months, as lawmakers and the administration weigh the need for another infusion of taxpayer dollars ahead of the midterm elections — and California’s devastating fires have already become a campaign issue.

Space Farce? The Challenges of Creating a New Military Department in Just 2 Years: Podcast
CQ on Congress, Episode 115

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced the Trump administration's plan to create a U.S. Space Force by 2020. ( Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Space is the “next battlefield,” Vice President Mike Pence said this week. CQ editor Patrick B. Pexton talks with reporter Andrew Clevenger about all the steps needed to create the Space Force. The biggest challenge? A just-passed, two-year defense authorization bill that’s on the president’s desk awaiting his signature. That bill has no extra funds for such an ambitious enterprise that critics say isn’t even necessary to protect the U.S. from space-based threats.

3 Takeaways From the Pence ‘Space Force’ Sales Pitch
Vice president ignores white elephant: a skeptical military and Congress

Space Force was on the mind of Vice President Mike Pence, seen here in the Rotunda last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s a new applause line in President Donald Trump’s campaign spiel.

It’s not quite up there with “Crooked Hillary” or demanding professional football players who kneel for the National Anthem to “get the hell out of here.” Crowds react with loud cheers when the president touts his envisioned “Space Force.”

Record Debt Pile by 2029 if Tax Cuts, Budget Deal Extended, CBO Says
Congressional scorekeeper assumed future lawmakers will extend temporary provisions

Debt as a share of the economy would balloon, under a scenario studied by the Congressional Budget Office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal debt would be about one and one half times the size of the economy within 20 years under an alternative fiscal scenario from the Congressional Budget Office that assumes Congress will continue the recent tax cuts and spending increases enacted over the past year.

Debt held by the public, which excludes debt held by government accounts including the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, would top the previous World War II-era record of 106 percent of gross domestic product by fiscal 2029 under the CBO’s “extended alternative fiscal scenario,” released Wednesday.

Trump Reiterates Falsehood About California Water Diversions
California officials not sure what to make of presidential claims

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk across the South Lawn to Marine One on their way to Joint Base Andrews on July 27. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Monday again falsely stated that the California government is diverting river water into the Pacific Ocean that could be used to fight forest fires, but he also signaled he will fast-track federal help.

For the second consecutive day, the president took to Twitter to contend Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is sending water from “the North” into the Pacific Ocean. Trump contended Monday that water could be used for “fires, farming and everything else.”

Speeding Through Spending Bills
CQ Budget, Episode 72

Files are carried out of the House of Representatives in preparation for Memorial Day recess Thursday, May 24, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After Public Praise for Diane Black, Trump Embraces Bill Lee
Tennessee Republican’s gubernatorial campaign touted support of the president

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., talks with reporters outside a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol last year. She will not be Tennessee’s next governor after losing her primary Thursday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump, who previously praised Rep. Diane Black, essentially cast her aside Friday after she lost a Republican gubernatorial primary in Tennessee.

Though the president never officially endorsed her, he did mention her — and not Bill Lee, the eventual victor — during a May 31 rally in Nashville.