As Congress returns from its July 4 recess, hearings on Capitol Hill will focus attention on the economic outlook, Social Security, future tax rates and government contracting. Lawmakers will be working against a backdrop of mounting public concern over the federal deficit, which the CBO recently projected at more than $1 trillion for the first nine months of the current fiscal year. That is only $81 billion less than the projected deficit at this time last year.
Before the recess, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a deeming resolution which will provide an allocation to the Appropriations Committee. While it has been billed as equivalent to a budget resolution, The Concord Coalition has argued that it is a weak alternative that does not provide the essential fiscal framework that could be included in a real budget resolution.
Also, the CBO recently issued a useful report analyzing 30 different policy options that have been suggested for providing long-term financial stability for Social Security. The options include changes in the payroll tax, initial benefits, cost-of-living adjustments and the full retirement age.
Cliff Isenberg, Concord’s chief budget counsel, provides a post-recess update on these and other issues, together with links to background information, in a new blog posting.