Budget panel might vote early on OMB nominee

Senate Budget Commmittee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said Wednesday that the panel could vote on Jacob Lew, President Obama's nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget, as soon as Thursday.

Conrad said that he had asked committee members to waive a panel rule that requires 48 hours' notice for a vote. He said that he and Senate Budget Committee ranking member Judd Gregg, R-N.H., had agreed to waive it, "but every member of the committee has to agree to that."

Committee action on Lew's nomination would clear they way for consideration by the full Senate, which Conrad hopes will happen before Congress adjourns, probably after next week, for the midterm elections.

Lew's nomination was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee on Tuesday.

Lew led the OMB under President Clinton. The budget showed a surplus for three consecutive years during his tenure. From 1998 to 2001, he led the Clinton administration budget team and served as a member of the National Security Council. Lew most recently was with the State Department, where he served as deputy secretary of State for management and resources.

In another matter, Conrad said he backed passing a hiring tax credit to give incentives to companies to bring on new employees and reduce unemployment. Conrad cited the CBO, which has said that "after an extension of unemployment [insurance], the biggest bang for the buck ... is that one."

He also said that a law enacted in March to boost hiring was insufficient. The law exempts private-sector employers who hire a worker who has been unemployed for at least 60 days from having to pay the employer's 6.2 percent share of the Social Security payroll tax on that employee for the remainder of 2010.

A company could save a maximum of $6,621 if it hired an unemployed worker and paid that worker at least $106,800 -- the maximum amount of wages subject to Social Security taxes -- by the end of the year.

"It wasn't strong enough," Conrad said.

His comments came after a hearing on the federal response to the economic downturn, where Princeton University economist Alan Blinder recommended that Congress pass a broader version of the law.

Moody's Analytics chief cconomist, Mark Zandi, also said he would endorse a payroll tax holiday targeted to companies that hire "if we get into early next year and the recovery is not engaging."

He said the current law was insufficient. "It was too small, too restrictive, is not working," he said. "It could be quite effective if we did it in a better way."

Zandi - an economic adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during his 2008 run for president and more recently Congressional Democrats - also recommended extending all of the Bush-era tax cuts. Democrats want to extend the 2001 and 2003 income-tax cuts for families earning less than $250,000 and individuals below $200,000, letting them expire for those with higher incomes.

"I wouldn't raise taxes in 2011," Zandi said. "The recovery is just too fragile."

Zandi and Blinder said government measures taken to combat the economic downturn, including the stimulus, had saved 8.5 million jobs.

But Stanford economist John B. Taylor said the stimulus and other actions, including "cash-for-clunkers," which provided incentives to consumers to trade in cars for more fuel-efficient models, "weakened the economy and left it with the burdens of increased debt and higher government spending as well as concerns about future tax increases."

Taylor recommended that Congress commit to keep income tax rates where they are.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.