The State of the Union and the Federal Budget: During the 2015 State of the Union Address last Tuesday evening, President Obama outlined his agenda for reshaping the U.S. economy as it continues gaining strength in the next two years. The president’s speech centered largely on recent economic gains, his plans for tax reform, and the conflict in the Middle East. President Obama’s intentions for government spending in 2016 will be further elucidated in his FY 2016 budget request, to be released next Monday, February 2.
The 2016 Budget is also a major topic in Congress this week. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release today its economic and fiscal outlook that provides a budget baseline for FY 2016 against which spending bills will be scored. CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf is scheduled to testify tomorrow before the House Budget Committee and on Wednesday before the Senate Budget Committee.
Last week, House Republicans changed the chamber’s rules to require the use of dynamic scoring, making it easier for Republicans to pass a tax revision package that would reduce revenue. A Senate debate on the issue is likely to ensue. The Obama administration has already voiced its opposition to the dynamic scoring approach. According to Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan: “Using dynamic scoring for official cost estimates would risk injecting bias into a broadly accepted, non-partisan scoring process that has existed for decades. As a result, it could allow Congress to adopt legislation that increases Federal deficits, while masking its costs.”
Stay tuned for 2016 Budget updates that relate specifically to WIC.
New Attorney General: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold confirmation hearings Wednesday and Thursday on President Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch, now the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to succeed Eric Holder as U.S. attorney general