The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

The United States Congress–to be fair, the Senate in particular–is great at inaction.

Despite a Democratic trifecta in government from 2009 to the end of 2010, the Employee Free Choice Act, a cap-and-trade bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and a litany of key economic policy appointments–especially to the Federal Reserve Board–died in the world’s most “deliberative” (read: slow) body.

But two charts released Wednesday by the CBO and flagged by Brian Beutler at TPM point out what most of us don’t realize–if Congress stays true to form and does nothing, and lets existing law go into effect over the next decade, the deficit (not the debt) conservatives and Tea Party types can’t get over will be erased entirely.

This assumes the deficit-reducing Affordable Care Act–Obama’s healthcare law–stays in effect, but perhaps most importantly, that the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2012, as the law currently requires.

Also important is that a doc-fix–artificially boosting reimbursement rates by Medicare at the behest of the powerful doctors’ lobby, something Congress does every year–isn’t put into place, draining the federal treasury of far less revenue.

Then again, if Congress really acts like its normal self, howls for extending tax cuts for everyone–even the mega rich–and doling out subsidies to entrenched interests will fall on receptive ears, and lawmakers will be jilted into action, exploding the deficit before going back into hibernation, occasionally waking up for the “serious conversation” about controlling the debt. [Talking Points Memo]

 

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Trump supporter holds "Stop the Steal" sign on the morning of the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Keep reading... Show less

Close