G. William Hoagland

You’d Think Samuel Beckett Was In Charge of Our Health Care
Finding a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot

OPINION — Finding bipartisan agreement in Congress on a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot. Polls tracking Americans’ views have consistently shown an evenly divided public. No single public policy issue captures the country’s polarization better than the debate that has surrounded this law.

That doesn’t mean we have to settle for “nothing to be done.” Improving health insurance markets is a goal worth pursuing, and Republicans and Democrats at the state level are already showing us the way.

What Would Pete Domenici Think?
Current lack of fiscal discipline would’ve alarmed late Senate Budget chairman

OPINION — One year ago this week, we lost a great statesman and legislator. Pete Domenici’s storied career in public service, most notably as a U.S. senator, spanned more than three decades. He will forever be the longest-serving chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Equally remarkable, he was a Republican from traditionally blue New Mexico — and its longest-serving senator. That says something about his personal and policy appeal to the public, regardless of party.

Opinion: Congress Needs to Hold On to Its Power of the Purse
Any rescission proposal from the White House should be acted upon quickly

Sixteen words in the U.S. Constitution have governed the federal government’s budget process for over 230 years: “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” Presidents of all parties over the country’s long history, nonetheless, have sought to wrest from Congress more control over the Treasury than those 16 words allow.

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln spent millions of dollars without congressional approval. While this was otherwise an unconstitutional act, Lincoln felt his actions were guided by the greater responsibility of his oath to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Opinion: Putting the ‘N’ in SNAP Should Be a Farm Bill Priority
Program should be strengthened to promote nutrition among SNAP recipients

As Congress begins its deliberations on this year’s farm bill, it’s time to pay more attention to the “N” in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Launched as a pilot program by President John F. Kennedy and expanded nationwide by President Richard Nixon, the food stamps program — now SNAP — has enjoyed bipartisan support over its nearly 60-year history. From its initial goals of supporting farm incomes and ensuring low-income families did not face hunger, it has evolved into an effective anti-poverty program. That evolution continues today with a focus on nutrition.

Opinion: Pick Up Your Forks. It’s Time for Another Dinner Table Bargain
Members of the Budget and Appropriations Process Reform Committee should follow the examples of Jefferson, Madison

The table is set. The invitations have been sent. The 16 Senate and House members of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform have accepted. Now it is time for these 16 diners to sit down and choose from a long menu of options for reforming the broken budget and appropriation procedure that the budget process chefs have prepared over the years.

Importantly, these diners should not be cooking up new proposals according to their own individual tastes, but instead should focus on selecting three or four key menu items that have been proposed by some of their predecessors.

Opinion: Budget Deal Gives New Meaning to ‘March Madness’
Upcoming March deadlines point to a budget process in shambles

Green shoots of bipartisanship are sprouting on Capitol Hill. A lengthy government shutdown or worse — a default on paying our debt — has been avoided with the two-year budget agreement.

Congress must now fill in the account-level details to fulfill the $1.2 trillion spending “agreement” before the current continuing resolution runs out on March 23. Combining this year’s final appropriation actions with the president’s March 5 deadline for the Deferred Arrivals for Childhood Arrivals program will give new meaning to “March Madness.”

Opinion: We’re Not in Kansas Anymore, or Are We?
State’s experiment with tax cuts offers a cautionary tale for Washington

The 2017 tax bill enactment has left some of us who follow the federal budget wondering whether we are headed the way of Kansas.

In 2012, the state’s Republican governor, Sam Brownback, led his GOP-dominated Legislature to significantly reduce Kansas’ business taxes and set a path to cut income taxes to “zero.” Brownback hailed the tax cuts as a “real-live” experiment in conservative governance that would lead to an explosion of economic growth for the Sunflower State. The real results were anything but sunny.

Opinion: Fiscal Order Goes Way of the Dinosaur in Tax Debate
Latest actions show Congress isn’t serious about debt and deficits

There was a time when members of Congress expressed concerns over the country’s level of debt and deficits. Laws were enacted to create speed bumps and stop signs to establish fiscal discipline. That now seems like a distant memory. Exhibit A is the current tax reform effort.

The permanent pay-as-you-go law is in effect, as is the Senate’s pay-as-you-go rule. The requirement that increased federal spending or tax cuts be matched by reduced spending or revenue increases to avoid expanding the budget deficit dates to the Reagan administration.