Legislative Activity

President Submits Proposed FY 2016 Budget to Congress

On Monday, February 2, the President submitted his proposed FY 2016 budget to Congress, kick-starting the annual budget and appropriations process. His $4.066 trillion proposal called for tens of billions of dollars in new spending, arguing that the Federal deficit has been cut and the economy has improved since he took office. The Administration believes that any budget increase could be offset by other spending cuts and closing several tax breaks. The President’s budget also proposes ending sequester caps on discretionary funding, and exceeding these current caps by $74 billion in FY 2016, increasing spending on both defense and non-defense programs. Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan appeared before both the House and Senate Budget Committees this week to defend the President’s proposal. He called for an end to sequester limits, and did not rule out a potential “grand bargain” compromise that might impact spending on entitlement programs.

Congressional appropriators will now begin to outline their own priorities for FY 2016. Republicans have already voiced opposition to the President’s plan, especially to his proposed tax overhaul. Support for eliminating sequester limits remains to be seen; while Congress has worked around sequester’s caps on spending in the past, this is the first time it has faced this question with Republicans controlling both chambers.

For our complete analysis of domestic, non-defense priorities in the President’s FY 2016 budget proposal, including a more detailed discussion broken down by industry, please click here. For a complete analysis of the proposed budget’s tax and revenue implications, please click here.

Republicans Continue Search for new Congressional Budget Office Chief

This week, members of the House and Senate Budget Committees reportedly interviewed several candidates to lead the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), including:

  • Katherine Baicker, an economist and healthcare policy expert;
  • Keith Hall, Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission; and
  • Harold Furchtgott-Roth, former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission.

Douglas Elmendorf, the current CBO Director, will remain in the position until a replacement is chosen.

This Week’s Hearings

  •  Wednesday, February 11: The Senate Committee on the Budget will host a hearing titled “The Coming Crisis: Social Security Disability Trust Fund Insolvency.”