Farm Bill- Budget Deficit Issue: Background
Federal spending priorities, although always an important consideration, have increasingly become a salient political variable since the financial collapse of 2008. Federal policies to stabilize markets following the U.S. economic meltdown, implemented by both the Bush and Obama administrations, were extremely costly and not without controversy. Projected costs and savings contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which became law in March of 2010, followed by a Tea Party infused midterm election, only served to heighten the budget issue as a potent political consideration for lawmakers.
Following the 2010 elections, voters observed ongoing negotiations between the GOP Congress and the Obama administration over the issue of the federal debt (see “Obama vs. Boehner: Who Killed the Debt Deal?”) where a “grand bargain” on federal tax and spending issues was never reached. The negotiations culminated last summer in the creation of the “Super Committee,” which itself failed in November. In the meantime, the U.S. had it its credit rating downgraded.
And earlier this year, a skirmish over payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits between the executive and the legislative branch was finally settled after another dust-up over the federal deficit.
Last month, the House of Representatives passed a FY 2013 budget outline which has now become an issue in the 2012 presidential campaign- last week President Barack Obama sharply criticized it, while the presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney embraced it.