Hill Update: Debt Ceiling and FY15 Budget

Treasury Secretary Calls for Action on Debt Limit
Administration Will Release Budget in March

Treasury Secretary Calls for Debt Limit ActionOn January 22, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew wrote a letter to congressional leaders explaining that Congress must act to raise the debt limit in February in order to avoid hitting the debt ceiling.

Democrats are calling for a clean increase in borrowing authority while Republicans want other provisions that reduce the deficit to be included in the deal.

The Obama Administration has also announced that it will release its FY15 budget request to Congress on March 4. Although the President is required to submit his budget request to Congress by the first Monday in February, the Administration has submitted the request after the deadline for the last two fiscal years.

The Administration stated it is able to move forward with FY15 budget planning now that Congress has completed its FY14 appropriations. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reportedly working with individual federal agencies to finalize the amount of FY15 departmental budget requests.

Congress may be able to quickly move forward with its appropriations process in FY15 because the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 set a new FY15 discretionary spending cap. With this figure in place, Congress is expected to avoid another prolonged budget negotiation in FY15. In FY14, the lack of agreement between the House and Senate over an FY14 spending cap prevented the chambers from completing FY14 appropriations bills on time.

As the gridlock on the debt ceiling in Washington continues, many of us may be asking, “What Exactly is the Debt Ceiling?

The New York Times has posted on its website a two minute video explaining the debt ceiling issue.