David Lerman

Analysis: Here’s Why Trump’s Budget Proposal May Cut Deeper Than Advertised
Even cutting 5 percent would be a tough sell in Congress for either party

President Donald Trump’s new push to trim the proposed budgets of all federal agencies next year could prove more draconian than it sounds, amounting to a 25 percent cut for all nondefense programs compared to the current year.

Technically, the request is for 5 percent cuts across the Cabinet departments, as Trump laid out at a White House event Wednesday: “We’re going to ask every [Cabinet] secretary to cut 5 percent for next year,” Trump told reporters, presumably referring to fiscal 2020, beginning next October.

Fiscal 2018 Deficit Clocks In at $779 Billion, White House Reports
Largest hole in six years, executive branch finds

The federal government ran a $779 billion deficit in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the largest budget shortfall in six years, the White House reported Monday.

The official deficit tally for fiscal 2018 marked a $113 billion increase from the previous year and accounted for 3.9 percent of gross domestic product, an increase of 0.4 percentage points. The report confirms the third consecutive fiscal year of rising deficits despite a strong economy. 

Behind the Interest Rate Increases
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 82

Stock market losses and interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve may be making some people jittery especially President Donald Trump. But none of it is abnormal, explains CQ's numbers guru, budget and appropriations editor Peter Cohn. ...
Border Wall Funding Battle Could Dominate Lame Duck
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 80

It's not all 12 as they had hoped, but lawmakers did get five big spending bills signed into law, leaving seven others for the lame-duck session. The president's insistence for border wall funding could take center stage, says CQ appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt.

Republicans Likely in for a Messy December Funding, Leadership Fight

Fiscal Year Ends With Unclear Path for Government Funding
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 79

With three spending bills signed into law, Congress is unlikely to pass all nine outstanding bills before the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, says CQ appropriations reporter Kellie Mejdrich. Meantime, President Donald Trump has sent mixed signals on whether he would sign an $855 billion spending package the House plans to adopt this week, and talks on another four-bill package remain mired in policy fights. ...
Spending Splurge
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 78

House and Senate lawmakers made a deal to give the Pentagon a huge spending boost and defy President Donald Trump's call to cut various health, education and labor programs. CQ Defense reporter John M. Donnelly and Health reporter Andrew Siddons unpack the mammoth spending package now making its way through Congress.

Show Notes:

Trump Wants to Freeze It. But Federal Pay Isn’t Driving Deficits
‘There’s a misconception that federal employees are all affluent,’ one advocate says

Federal worker compensation, repeatedly used as a piggy bank to fund other priorities earlier this decade, is once again in budget cutters’ crosshairs. The latest catalyst is President Donald Trump’s desire to shrink costs associated with the “administrative state,” both by freezing civil workers’ pay next year and making them contribute more to their pensions.

The pay freeze issue is coming to a head as soon as this month, when Congress decides whether to incorporate Trump’s proposal or allow a 1.9 percent boost to federal worker pay next year, as contained in a bipartisan Senate spending package approved on a 92-6 vote last month.

Spending Milestone Within Reach
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 77

Congress is racing to pass at least three spending bills as early as this week and is poised to make progress on others, says CQ Budget Tracker editor David Lerman. Time, however, is running out.

 Show Notes:

Hurdles to Passing Spending Bills
CQ Budget, Episode 76

House and Senate leaders like to brag about their respective chambers' progress on passing spending bills but not one has won final passage, CQ budget and appropriations reporter Kellie Mejdrich says. She unpacks the reasons behind the bottleneck that now includes a new hurdle:President Trump's freeze on federal workers' wages.

Show Notes:

Senators Rebuke Trump on Education Funding: Podcast
CQ Budget, Episode 74

The Senate takes up a spending package this week that rejects White House attempts to cut school funding by about 11 percent next year. CQ’s Kellie Mejdrich explains the conflict over education priorities between Congress and the White House and which side is likely to prevail. ...
Spending Bonanza Heads to Senate Floor: Podcast
CQ Budget, Episode 73

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Speeding Through Spending Bills
CQ Budget, Episode 72

Podcast: Senate Set to Surpass House
CQ Budget, Episode 71

Senate lawmakers will try this week to outdo their House colleagues by passing a four-bill spending package —if they can overcome snags, says CQ appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt. ...
Podcast: Wall Funding That Isn’t Coming From Mexico
CQ Budget, Episode 70

House appropriators are set to give President Donald Trump some of the border wall funding he's been seeking, says CQ immigration reporter Dean DeChiaro. He explains what's in the Homeland Security spending bill.

Pension Plan Rescue Legislation Getting Tough to Price
Congressional Budget Office walking back previous estimates of cost

An effort to shore up troubled pension plans for many middle-class workers comes with a squishy price tag.

A bill (S 2147) by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, would create a Pension Rehabilitation Administration within the Treasury Department that could make loans to multiemployer pension plans for union workers. Those plans have been estimated to be underfunded by about $65 billion, endangering the retirements of about 1.5 million residents nationwide.

Podcast: New Costs for Veterans Health Slow Spending Bill Progress
CQ Budget, Episode 69

CQ budget reporter Kellie Mejdrich breaks down why Senate appropriators face stiff opposition from the House and White House over how to pay for a private health care program for veterans....
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.

Podcast: Unexpected Spending Trips Appropriators
CQ Budget, Episode 66

The Senate hit some speed bumps in its push last week to pass a package of spending bills including how to pay for private health care for veterans, says CQ appropriations reporter Kellie Mejdrich.

 

Podcast: A Flurry of Budget Activity
CQ Budget, Episode 65

CQ budget and appropriations reporter Jennifer Shutt breaks down the various budget measures Congress will take up this week, including the three-bill spending package and a possible House fiscal 2019 budget resolution to set spending and revenue guidelines for the coming fiscal year.

 

Podcast: Minibus, Rescission Package Go to Senate, But Can They Pass?
CQ Budget, Episode 64

The House moved two big appropriations packages — a bundle of spending bills and a measure to cancel almost $15 billion already allocated — but their future remains uncertain amid Democratic opposition,  says CQ Budget and Appropriations Editor Peter Cohn.