Coming Distractions

If you enjoyed the recent return to fiscal brinkmanship in Congress, you’ve got more to look forward to than simply the February 27 expiration of appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security and all the ancillary issues that might drag into the fray. WaPo’s Wonkbook pointed us today to a useful calendar of scheduled 2015 crises that the New York Times Jonathan Weisman published earlier this month:

Absent congressional action, a host of business and personal tax breaks expires on Jan. 1. The government’s borrowing limit is reinstated on March 16, although the government might not actually hit the ceiling until August.

On March 28, unless lawmakers act, physician reimbursements from Medicare drop off a cliff. On May 31, the highway trust fund runs out of money. In June, the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance overseas purchases of American exports, might shut in the face of conservative opposition to its mission. Then on Sept. 30, the entire Children’s Health Insurance Program faces its expiration. A few days later, across-the-board spending cuts loom once again.

Complicating all of these potential flashpoints, of course, is that Republican control of both Houses of Congress likely means a return to debt-and-deficit mania and artificial goals for reducing federal domestic spending.

Aren’t you glad the party that believes in providing the business community with economic policy certainty is back in charge of Congress?

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.