One of the biggest issues that our nation is facing is the budget deficit. President Obama's bipartisan fiscal commission released a report that called for deep spending cuts, an increase in the retirement age and an overhaul of the tax code to combat budget deficits and reduce the national debt. The plan would require 14 supporting votes of the commission to push it along for Congress' consideration. While it received only 11 votes, this was more than expected and showed that a resolution is possible if both Democrats and Republicans find a way to work together to solve the budget issue. Though the plan may be dead as of right now, members of the commission are certain that the nation has not seen the last of it.
Only a few days after the plan failed, President Obama announced his bipartisan tax framework and Congressional leaders introduced a $1.1 trillion bill that would fund the federal government through the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year. Together, the two proposals have the possibility to add more than $2 trillion to the federal budget deficit.
On Wednesday, the House passed the $1.1 trillion continuing resolution (CR) that would continue funding the government at the same levels as fiscal year 2010. The Senate is now planning to amend this bill into an omnibus appropriations bill that would include Congressional earmarks, unlike the House version. The bill, which would bundle all the appropriations bills into a single funding package, is being assembled by Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (HI) and would provide approximately $19 billion more in funding than the House bill. It still remains unclear as to when Senator Inouye will release his spending package. President Obama is in favor of an omnibus package, and White House officials have said that it would help for "the government to get on a prudent fiscal path sooner rather than later."
If Congress does not come to an agreement on the omnibus package, the administration prefers a full-year CR to a short-term one. House Republicans would prefer a short-term CR, because this would provide them with the chance to cut 2011 funding early next year when they gain control of the House.