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The Skinny on the Full Budget

The full version of March's abbreviated or "skinny" federal budget proposal was released this past Tuesday. Historically, presidential budgets rarely get approved in their entirety.  It has become a Washington tradition to declare them dead on arrival, as it is ultimately up to Congress to determine federal spending. Still, given that the budget proposal reflects an administration's priorities, many people are interested in specifics because they can be an indication of future trends. Below is a list of articles that provide basic details on which programs have been slated for spending reductions and which have been marked for complete elimination.

The Federal Budget Process:  A Simple Explanation

There is so much talk about the different federal budgets in the news that it is easy to lose track of the bigger picture. We have heard about President Trump's new budget proposal for FY 2018. But we are also hearing about about government spending laws expiring on April 28. Since the federal budget process is a complex phenomena, perhaps a brief refresher on the basic process might be useful.

Security Funding for the 2016 Political Conventions - The Role of Grants

Election fever is in the air as the Republicans gathered in Cleveland the 18th of July followed by the Democrats in Philadelphia this week. Conventions certainly generate economic activity for their host cities, but there are considerable costs as well. How do cities come up with money for their expenses? Are public funds available? We are all familiar with the box on our tax returns that we check if we want $3 of our tax money to go to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. It used to be that a part of that money went to fund party conventions. In 2014, the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act redirected that portion into a ten-year pediatric cancer research fund. While the political parties themselves no longer get taxpayer money to pay for their conventions, grants from the Department of Justice to the cities of Cleveland and Philadelphia played a major role in providing security for the two events.

DATA Act: Greater Federal Funding Transparency, Accountability

"American taxpayers deserve to be able to access information about how their money is being spent." - U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, 49th District California

Last month, the House of Representatives adopted H.R. 2061, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), introduced by Congressman Darrell Issa. The bill aims to make federal spending more accessible, increase the availability of the data to the public, and improve oversight of federal funding. The legislation is also intended to offer a way to track federal spending, reduce compliance costs, improve transparency, prevent fraud, and improve the quality of data submitted on www.USASpending.gov.

Sequestration: Urgency for Local Governments

Last week’s free webinar by the National League of Cities (NLC), National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), and Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) discussed the details of the sequestration process and “how city leaders from across the country can join together to urge Congress to find a bipartisan and balanced solution to reducing the deficit.” Sequestration is set to have a major negative impact on federal, state, and local economies. As if you needed reminding.

Automatic Budget Cuts, Cruel and Across-the-Board

Math isn’t hard. It’s relatively easy when it comes to across-the-board budget cuts.

DATA Act's Possible Burden on Local Government

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone on Capitol Hill, or any average American for that matter, who’s not in favor of federal financial accountability and transparency, particularly in the wake of the GSA Las Vegas spending scandal. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (H.R. 2146), commonly referred to as the DATA Act, is intended to take federal transparency to the next level, making recipients and subrecipients of federal funding more accountable for how funds (grants, loans, or otherwise) are used.

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