Debt Ceiling 2013/14/15
The House passed a Budget deal on October 28, 2015 that, among other things, will extends the government’s borrowing authority through mid-March 2017. In 2013, the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate negotiated with the White House on three fiscal matters with looming deadlines: raising the debt ceiling now approaching the limit $16.5T, massive federal spending cuts known as sequester and a budget resolution. On February 4th, the President signed a bill into law extending the debt limit debate until 5/18/13. This date may also get extended as far as August due to financial manipulations similar to those used in 2011. The "No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013" also mandates that pay for lawmakers be held in escrow starting April 16 until their chamber has passed a 2014 budget resolution. Congress must pass a spending bill, called a continuing resolution or “CR,” which would continue spending after Sept. 30, 2013, the end of the 2013 fiscal year. As it stands now, the government’s legal authority to borrow more money runs out in mid-October, 2013. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, if that date arrived on October 18, the Treasury “would be about $106 billion short of paying all bills owed between October 18 and November 15. The congressionally mandated limit on federal borrowing is currently set at $16.7 trillion. The debt limit has been raised 13 times since 2001 and has grown from about 55 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2001 to 102 percent of GDP last year. The hoped for legislation will raise the debt ceiling through Dec. 31, 2014.

Meaningful Reforms the Only Way Out of Crippling National Debt

6/30/15
from NCPA,
6/30/15:

Federal budget deficits and the growing national debt are less in the news these days for a couple of reasons. - For starters, annual deficits are expected to be lower for the next several years compared with the recent past. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the 2015 federal deficit will be $486 billion — a lot of borrowed money for sure, but far less than the $1.3 trillion average deficit from 2009 to 2012. - CBO expects the annual deficit to remain essentially the same through 2018. Further, deficit spending and what to do about it is an unpopular topic for politicians, so if they can avoid talking about it, they do. But just because the issue isn't in the news every day doesn't mean the problem has gone away. Indeed, CBO's recent report on the long-term budget outlook makes it clear that mounting federal debt remains the most serious non-military threat to our continued strength and prosperity. The size and scope of the problem were made much worse by the financial crash of 2008 and its aftermath: - From 2009 to 2012, the federal government ran a cumulative deficit of $5 trillion, almost doubling the national debt. - Federal debt now stands at 74 percent of Gross Domestic Product, far above the post-war norm of around 35 to 40 percent. This means the country is entering a very challenging period of fiscal stress, driven by the aging of the population and rising health expenses, from a position of considerable weakness. The key themes of a serious reform effort should be: - Encouraging longer working lives, e.g. by raising retirement ages and lowering explicit and implicit taxes on wages; altering programs to require middle- and upper-middle-class households to finance more of their own retirement and health-care needs out of their personal resources; - Improved efficiency in the health system through strong price competition and consumer choice; - And more state flexibility and responsibility in running programs within fixed budgets.

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