Paul M. Krawzak

White House to put Medicare cuts on hold during shutdown
Pay-as-you-go law would force cuts if shutdown lingers until Jan. 24

The Trump administration won’t order up a round of cuts in federal benefit programs, primarily Medicare, if the partial government shutdown remains in effect later this month, a senior Office of Management and Budget official said.

If the shutdown lingers until Jan. 24, under current law, the OMB would be forced to slice around $839 million from nonexempt programs across the government. That number represents the figure left on the pay-as-you-go “scorecard” for 2018, specifying the net amount added to the fiscal 2019 deficit by laws enacted last year, excluding emergency spending that is exempt from the calculation.

House Democrats’ budget to assume corporate tax increase
Yarmuth aims to bring fiscal 2020 budget resolution to floor by early April

Rep. John Yarmuth, the new House Budget chairman, said his chamber’s budget blueprint will aim to claw back lost revenue by boosting the corporate tax rate from its current 21 percent to as high as 28 percent, with rate increases also possible for high-earning individuals.

The Kentucky Democrat said Friday he wants to mark up a fiscal 2020 budget resolution, which will outline his party’s vision for taxes and spending over the next decade, in time to reach the House floor in early April. Yarmuth said Democratic leaders have told him they want to be ready so they can set the procedural stage for passage of all 12 appropriations bills before the August recess.

Rules package would renew ‘Gephardt Rule’ with a major twist

A proposed House rules package wouldn’t just reinstate the old rule that let the chamber avoid separate votes on the statutory debt ceiling 20 times in three decades starting in 1980. 

The new rules offered by House Democratic leaders, set for floor debate Thursday, would turbocharge the old “Gephardt rule” into something completely new. It would allow the chamber to spin off a resolution “suspending” the debt ceiling to the Senate, without a House vote, once the House adopts its own version of a budget resolution.

Shutdown Fears Abound, Despite Temporary Reprieve
Another deadline looming in appropriations standoff

Congressional aides on both sides of the aisle say they don’t see how the appropriations impasse ends without a partial government shutdown just in time for Christmas Eve.

President Donald Trump signed a continuing resolution into law Friday that would change the expiration date of the stopgap measure enacted before the midterm elections to Dec. 21. But he wasted little time in taking aim at Democratic leaders for “playing political games” on border security funding, even as he prepares to sit down with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York in the Oval Office Tuesday.

Trump’s Christmas Wish List: Billions for Wildfire Suppression, Unaccompanied Children
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 91

Just when lawmakers thought they had breathing room to hammer out a year-end spending deal, President Donald Trump drops a request for an extra $4.76 billion, technically referred to as anomalies. CQ's budget and appropriations team, Kellie Mejdrich and Paul M. Krawzak explain what's at stake for government spending with co-host Jennifer Shutt. ...
Mueller Probe, Wall Funding Could Trip Up Spending Plan
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 88

With just eight legislative days remaining to avoid a partial government shutdown, lawmakers will confront a slew of prickly issues, including Robert S. Mueller III's Russia investigation, in their government spending talks, says CQ's senior budget reporter Paul M. Krawzak. He games out what might happen to the seven pending bills that need to pass by Dec. 7.

Surprise Roadblock Could Sideline Budget Overhaul Panel
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 87

The co-chairwoman of the select committee tasked with overhauling the budget process threw her colleagues a curveball that could derail plans to report out a bill by the Nov. 30 deadline, CQ's senior budget reporter Paul Krawzak tells host Jennifer Shutt.

Despite the Rhetoric, Congress Is Unlikely to Tackle Deficit, Entitlements
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 83

The rising deficit, the president’s request for 5 percent in budget cuts and discussions of needing to trim Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security set off a storm of debate just three weeks before the midterms. Roll Call's senior Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski, senior CQ budget reporter Paul M. Krawzak and co-host Jennifer Shutt explain why Congress is unlikely to deal with any of it.

Democratic Unity on Budget Faces Tests in New Congress
What flavor of nationalized health care can the party agree to — if any?

If voters give Democrats control of the House in November, they’ll get a chance to write the first left-leaning budget blueprint since 2009 in that chamber.

That would give Democrats an opportunity to show through the tax and spending blueprint how they want to address rising deficits, insolvency projections for social safety net programs, and get a jump on their 2020 message.

Outside Kavanaugh Cacophony, Congress Faces Looming Deadline on Government Spending
Despite steady progress this year, lawmakers have little time to pass funding bills

The multiday media circus surrounding the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh notwithstanding, Congress is facing a Sept. 30 deadline to fund the government, with appropriators struggling to work out their differences on fiscal 2019 spending. 

There are only 11 legislative days this month when the House and Senate are both scheduled to be in session. That means there isn’t much floor time in either chamber to vote on what could be as many as three conference reports with spending totaling more than $1 trillion, even if the legislation is privileged in the Senate and the House limits debate.

Appropriations Rush Before Midterms
CQ Budget, Episode 75

With the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 and midterm elections just around the corner, Republicans hope to pass nine spending bills to tout on the campaign trail. CQ senior budget reporter Paul M. Krawzak explains why that might be a heavy lift. ...
Record Debt Pile by 2029 if Tax Cuts, Budget Deal Extended, CBO Says
Congressional scorekeeper assumed future lawmakers will extend temporary provisions

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.

House Conservatives Could Tank a Quick Fall Spending Push
Pre-election passage could leave them without bargaining chips in lame-duck immigration fight, they fear

House Republican conservatives are mulling a plan to try to sink passage of a combined spending package for the Pentagon, education, health care and worker assistance programs before the elections.

They fear enactment of the Defense and Labor-HHS-Education measures — the two largest appropriations bills with the highest priority programs for Republicans and Democrats, respectively — would leave conservatives with little leverage in a lame-duck session fight over immigration and border security.

Senate Appropriator: More Border Wall Money Possible in House-Senate Talks
Capito says she could support spending up to $5 billion

The top Senate appropriator with jurisdiction over Department of Homeland Security funding thinks there is room to put more money into President Donald Trump’s top budget priority: his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said this week she could support spending up to $5 billion on the border wall, as Trump has informally requested, even though that is three times the $1.6 billion her subcommittee's fiscal 2019 spending bill would allocate for the wall.

Podcast: Ticking Debt Bomb
CQ Budget, Episode 67

BY DAVID LERMAN AND PAUL M. KRAWZAK

The Congressional Budget Office recently issued an alarming report on the nation's debt outlook, which CQ senior budget reporter Paul M. Krawzak says should worry millennials.

CBO: US Debt Burden Set to Break Record in Early 2030s
Growing deficits to push debt to almost 100 percent of GDP by 2028

Debt as a share of the United States economy is on track to blow through the previous World War II-era record within two decades and keep rising from there, the Congressional Budget Office said in its annual long-term budget report.

Generally assuming no change in current laws, growing budget deficits would push debt held by the public from the current level of 78 percent of the economy to almost 100 percent of gross domestic product by 2028, and to 152 percent of GDP by 2048, according to the agency.

House Budget Would Direct $302 Billion in 10-Year Spending Cuts
‘Three-step process to give to the rich and make everyone else pay for it,’ Democrats say

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack’s fiscal 2019 budget resolution charts a path to balancing the budget in nine years through a combination of steep cuts in mandatory spending programs, freezing nondefense discretionary spending and banking on robust economic growth, according to a summary.

Under the draft fiscal blueprint, which will be marked up in committee Wednesday and Thursday, the deficit would be reduced by $8.1 trillion over 10 years compared to current law or policy. The budget would produce a surplus of $26 billion in 2027 if all of the assumed policies were enacted, growing to $142 billion in 2028.

Medicare Finances Worsen but Social Security Projections Stable
Changes by Congress to tax law, entitlements affect projections

The Social Security system is in almost the same shape as last year for its retirement benefits and in a better position for its disability benefits, the program’s trustees reported Tuesday. But a separate report for Medicare paints a somewhat bleaker outlook for the giant health program for seniors and people with disabilities, estimating that its hospital trust fund will dry up in 2026 — three years earlier than last year’s projections.

Medicare’s board of trustees attributed the change, in part, to lower payroll taxes and higher-than-expected health care spending in 2017.

Rescissions Package On Hold While GOP Deliberates
GAO delivers relatively good news, even as schedule slips

Congressional auditors delivered some good news for the White House and House GOP leaders on Tuesday, saying in a report that President Donald Trump’s $15.2 billion spending cuts proposal mostly meets tests laid out in the 1974 statute establishing the “rescissions” process — even as leaders decided to put off consideration of the package until next month. 

The Government Accountability Office found that two Transportation Department accounts slated for $134 million in cuts can’t legally be “impounded,” or blocked by the administration during the initial 45-day period after submission of the requests to Congress. The rest of the cuts, including rescissions from mandatory spending accounts like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, are allowed to go forward under the 1974 law establishing the modern rescissions process, according to the GAO.

CBO Sees $804 Billion 2018 Deficit, $1 Trillion Gap By 2020
Tax cuts, omnibus deal are big drivers of red ink

The deficit is estimated to climb to $804 billion this year and $981 billion in fiscal 2019, hitting $1 trillion in 2020 and topping $1.5 trillion in 2028, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report Monday.

In their latest semiannual budget and economic outlook, CBO said debt held by the public will rise to $15.7 trillion in fiscal 2018 and continue to grow, hitting $28.7 trillion or 96 percent of the size of the economy in 2028.