Congress is setting up for a showdown this fall on the budget, the debt ceiling and possibly immigration.
But another item on the agenda hasn't been getting as much attention: changing tax policy. The chairmen of the two tax-writing committees have been working for years, holding hearings, releasing white papers, even hosting bipartisan tax chat lunches at a pub — often with little notice.
Dave Camp is a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Max Baucus is a Montana Democrat and leads the Senate Finance Committee.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Well, now that summer is officially here, we thought this might be a good time to check in with some of our colleagues to find out how the federal budget cuts known as sequestration are playing out. These cuts went into effect in the spring, and it is becoming clear that some federal agencies and programs are feeling the brunt, while others have largely escaped.
NPR's business news starts with pension problems for Illinois.
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MONTAGNE: The credit rating for the state of Illinois has taken another step closer to junk bond status. Illinois already had the lowest credit rating in the nation before it was downgraded again this week by Moody's and Fitch. The state legislature adjourned last week without addressing a $100 billion pension shortfall.
So as NPR's David Schaper reports, the governor is calling lawmakers back.
Photo taken on set of the series "When Calls the Heart"
Credit "When Calls the Heart" Facebook Page
The $20.5 billion dollar state budget signed by Governor Hickenlooper this week includes $1.3 million dollars for the Office of Film, Television and Media. That’s less than half of what the department received last year.
During the housing bust, taxpayers were forced to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But thanks to the real estate recovery, Fannie Mae could end up paying tens of billions of dollars back to the Treasury this summer.
That's just one of the factors behind a better bottom line for the federal government. This week, the Treasury Department announced it will pay down some of its debt for the first time in six years.