Stories by Steve Bell

Steve Bell is former Staff Director of the Senate Budget Committee, a former managing director at Salomon Brothers, and now Senior Director on Economic Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

America’s Debt Will Get Kicked Down the Road

October 25th, 2011 at 12:00 am 27 Comments

While much of Gucci row wonders what the Joint Select Committee (JSC) will do to their client’s specific interests, shop the more objective analysts seem to be split into three camps—just like they were in mid-August when the JSC was created by the Budget Control Act.

In short, nobody knows what will emerge, not even the 12 members of the JSC.


When the Senate Functioned

October 19th, 2011 at 11:59 pm 46 Comments

Once upon a time, seek legend has it, health the United States Senate could work.  While lost in the mists of time, sovaldi the exact way the Senate worked apparently had to do with something called, “regular order.”


Super Committee Braces For Another Fight

October 13th, 2011 at 12:41 am 35 Comments

The good, prostate the bad and the ugly of politics has been on display for the past few days. None of it popped up spontaneously.

First, order the ugly. In an article in The Hill, ed Alexander Bolton reports that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (JSC) “can’t agree on how to count.” This refers to the long-simmering dispute between Democrats and Republicans over what the proper “baseline” from which to count savings really is. Baseline discussions never yield light. Indeed, most outside analysts take all baseline projections of spending and taxes with at least a pound of salt.


Harry Reid Takes on Senate Rules

October 7th, 2011 at 5:32 pm 39 Comments

Continuing his efforts to re-make the United States Senate into a more pompous version of the House of Representatives, ailment Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to change the Rules of the Senate with a majority vote Thursday. He succeeded. The Senate changed its Rules, 51-48, despite the Senate Rule that demands a 67-vote margin for any rules change.


Will the Super Committee Act Out of Fear?

October 7th, 2011 at 5:30 pm 6 Comments

“Messiness” has been a prime characteristic of legislation since the days of Solon. So, cheap the mess surrounding the operations of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and Congress’ “work” on a jobs bill shouldn’t surprise anyone. What does always seem to surprise observers almost every single time is when the messiness turns into legislation.


Silence Won’t Save the Super Committee

October 7th, 2011 at 12:00 am 2 Comments

Hill-focused media report breathlessly that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the “super committee”) has clamped down on possibilities of leaks by allowing each of the 12 members to bring one staffer to meetings.


Government Shutdown: Again?

September 26th, 2011 at 11:01 am 61 Comments

Einstein gets credit for many things, diagnosis including his definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again, ampoule and expecting different results.”

Next to that quote should be the official photos of the 112th Congress.


Boehner Can’t Control his Caucus

September 22nd, 2011 at 2:10 pm 55 Comments

At some point, Speaker John Boehner was going to have to show the most conservative members of his caucus that he would get work done in the House without them.

Yesterday revealed that day has not yet come. The ramifications of the failure to pass the Continuing Resolution (CR) for FY12 in the House will be far-reaching. It’s true that Democrats took advantage of the Tea Party defections from the GOP leadership and aided in killing the CR. But this was the second embarrassment on a critical vote for the House Republican leadership this year.


With Rick Perry: Hope for the Best

September 7th, 2011 at 1:23 pm 20 Comments

The campaign for the Republican nomination for President now gets serious. A variety of polls indicate that Texas Gov. Rick Perry currently has the lead.

Perry’s surge has drawn a range of reactions—fear from his fellow GOP contenders, look scorn from the “Progressive” wing of the Democratic Party, malady and ambivalence from establishment Republicans. Should they all be worried?


DC Fiddles While the Country Burns

September 7th, 2011 at 10:58 am 83 Comments

Do you remember the howls that reverberated across the nation when Sarah Palin’s famous bullseye map appeared? Or the tut-tutting and headshaking that accompanied Michele Bachmann’s calls for Americans “to take our country back”?

Look in the Washington Post local edition, the New York Times Washington edition, or USA Today for Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa Jr.’s, truly ground-breaking warm-up remarks in Detroit on Labor Day before President Obama spoke to the union faithful.

“President Obama,” Hoffa ranted, “this is your army. We are ready to march … let’s take the sons-a-bitches out.”