Is the country’s budget process broken? Stan Collender sits down with Chuck Conconi on this week’s episode of Focus Washington to discuss the ins and outs of the budget process and prospects for compromise under the next administration.

As general election season approaches and the country hones in on the two likely nominees for the race, the differences between a Trump budget or a Clinton budget merits discussion. Collender points out that, however, that regardless of who will next sit in the Oval Office, the process goes beyond the total authority of the President; Clinton or Trump, the responsibility of passing a budget will still be with a split congress, making the chances of four more years of budget stalemate high.

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Chuck and Stan in the Focus Washington studio

Although budget jargon and process may be beyond reach for most Americans, Collender explains that the process is, in reality, very simple. Put in place in 1974, there are three steps: The President submits a proposed budget, Congress passes a Budget Resolution in response, and this is followed by Reconciliation with existing legislation. However, due to the inability of Congress to agree on budget priorities and the subsequent failure to pass a Budget Resolution, the process has broken down every step of the way.                                                                       

Collender recently testified in a Senate Budget Committee hearing on just this subject. As he recounted to Chuck, “I told them this process is broken down and it’s broken down because you have refused to implement it, so the idea you’re holding a hearing now to talk about better ways to implement it is crazy. I called it the fiscal equivalent of chutzpah.”

Of course, compromise has been reached before. Bill Clinton’s administration proved that it can be done. Now, however, a different political climate exists in the country, and Congress effectively holds the budget hostage when it refuses to participate in negotiations. “I’m not optimistic, but it’s not about the budget process. Congress doesn’t need it, they have all the power they need in the constitution, they can do whatever they want–the problem is they can’t agree on what they want to do, and until that happens, you’ll never get a budget process either enacted or actually implemented,” Collender explained.

After all, Congress didn’t even look at the President’s budget request this year. The failure of the budget process reflects the highly partisan nature of politics today. As Stan Collender points out, a lack of coherent priorities or decisions by the legislative branch paralyzes the fiscal policy of the nation – and this is a fact that is not likely to change in the coming four years.

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Chuck Conconi is back this week with a new episode of Focus Washington! His guest is budget expert Stan Collender, lending his insights into the continuing resolution, the effects of a shutdown, and giving his predictions for the upcoming elections. 

Focus Washington: Wessel on the Politics of the Federal Budget

On August 24, 2012, in DCView, by Focus Washington

The budget deficit situation has never been this bad. The numbers have never been this large. Politicians are unwilling to compromise.

Author David Wessel and his new book, “Red Ink,” were celebrated last night in a book party hosted by Qorvis Communications. Partner and National Director of Financial Communications, Stan Collender coordinated the event on behalf of old friend David Wessel.

The party was well attended by members of the Washington D.C. business and media community including reporters from Bloomberg, Washington Life and Washington Journal.

The third book by Wessel, “Red Ink” discusses the high-stakes politics of the federal budget in a way that the American public can understand. He examines the 2011 fiscal year in order to explain how the budget process has grown out of control and the people and politics behind it. In his remarks at the party, Wessel acknowledged the brevity of the book saying the federal budget and deficit are confusing especially since they are generally discussed in “vague generalities.”

 

On the day of his Capitol Hill testimony, Ross Brickley, president of CCRx of NC, Inc. and former president of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, founder of the Quality Care Coalition for Patients in Pain (QCCPP), explains how and to what extent DEA rules affect patients in nursing facilities, and focuses on long-term care, and those receiving hospice services. He shares with us a haunting study conducted by the QCCPP, that shows nearly two thirds of physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, nurses and other clinicians say that DEA procedures are resulting in delays in getting pain medication to their patients. In Ohio, where DEA has been most active, 86 percent of respondents indicated that treatment has been delayed. For more information about the report Patients in Pain: How U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Rules Harm Patients in Nursing Facilities, visit http://www.qccpp.org/report.

Stan Collender and Toxic Assets

On March 24, 2009, in DCView, by Focus Washington

Today, federal budget guru Stan Collender talked about toxic assets and the state of our economy. Recently, several journalists have pointed to the Treasury Department as “armature hour.” Stan refutes that statement and says the ultimate goal is to fix the balance sheets which will ultimately get us out of the depression. Stan comments we’re heading to a bull-market.

Stan the Budget Man

On February 25, 2009, in DCView, by Focus Washington

When I want to understand the mental morass of the Federal Budget or the impossible economic situation, I call on Stan Colander. No one can take you through the sticky spider webs that economists weave and bring you to some reasonable understanding. I knew that Stan was the man to talk to after the Presidents first message to Congress and after weeks of frightening economic news. Stan feels more positive, so I now feel more positive. Maybe I’ll be able to afford to go out to dinner at T.G.I.Fridays and a movie next week. As we go through more of this economic crisis/downturn, or whatever, I’ll be again calling on Stan.

Winning the Stimulus Package

On February 10, 2009, in DCView, by Focus Washington

Today I talked with Stan Collender, an expert on the federal budget, about the stimulus package. Throughout the interview we discussed what many people, including lawmakers, don’t know, what are we really spending our money on.

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Stan Collendar, leading financial expert, discusses the economy

On November 6, 2008, in DCView, by Focus Washington

With extensive experience on Capital Hill and considered one of the leading experts on the U.S. budget and congressional budget process in Washington, DC, I asked Stan Collender, one of the leading experts on federal fiscal and monetary policies, to discuss the U.S. economy and what to expect out of an Obama administration. His comments were spot on and eye-opening.

Stan is one of only a handful of people who has worked for the House and Senate Budget Committees and has worked for three U.S. representatives who served on the House Budget and Ways and Means Committees.

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