By Danny Vinik
On Wednesday in the New York Times, Jonathan Weisman offered a gloomy forecast for the year ahead in Washington and its potential effects on the economy. “[A] dark cloud is threatening to return to otherwise clearing economic skies: fiscal and policy uncertainty,” he writes. Weisman cites a number of legislative deadlines that Congress faces next year. But those deadlines aren’t what’s causing this return of fiscal uncertainty. That blame falls squarely on the Republican Party.
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To understand this, just read Weisman’s article and look at the legislation that will require Congressional action in 2015—postponing or eliminating the automatic cuts to Medicare physician payments (the so-called doc fix) in March; replenishing the highway trust fund in May; renewing funding for the Export-Import bank in June; reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program in September; and renewing the tax extenders at the end of the year. The debt ceiling will also need to be raised sometime late next summer, further spending cuts from sequestration will kick in and both parties will have to agree on a government budget for the 2016 fiscal year. Sounds like a lot, right?