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Around the Halls: The Obama Administration's Budget Release

President Obama's FY 2014 budget

With the release of the Obama administration's FY 2014 budget, Brookings experts weigh in on the president's proposals:

Alice Rivlin, Senior Fellow, member of the President’s Debt Commission:

The President’s budget offers specific proposals for creating jobs and investing in productivity while simultaneously reining in the rising debt. It creates the opportunity to jumpstart serious bipartisan negotiation on how to accelerate the recovery in the context of balanced comprehensive tax and entitlement reform that will put the budget on a sustainable path for the long-run future.

Isabel Sawhill, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Brookings Budgeting for National Priorities Project:

This budget begins the difficult process of reallocating funds from more affluent seniors to lower-income families and their children.  Much more needs to happen on this front over the coming decade but the President's proposals to limit spending on Medicare and tax-favored forms of retirement saving for the most affluent, slow the growth of social security benefits for non-vulnerable seniors and invest in Pre-K programs are all steps in the right direction.

Read Sawhill’s related blog post: The President’s Budget: A Good Strategy for Difficult Times

William Frenzel, former House Budget Committee Ranking Member and Brookings Guest Scholar:

It does not pass muster as a Budget because it does not get us where we want to be in ten years. But, as an invitation to Republicans to re-engage in ‘grand bargain’ discussions, it  demonstrates real leadership by the President.


  • Alice M. Rivlin is a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at Brookings, a visiting professor at the Public Policy Institute of Georgetown University and the director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform. She recently served as a member of the President’s Debt Commission, was founding director of CBO, served as OMB director and was Federal Reserve Vice Chair. She is an expert on fiscal and monetary policy and the recipient of the 2013 Robert M. Ball Award for Outstanding Achievements in Social Insurance, awarded by the National Academy of Social Insurance.

  • A nationally known budget expert, Isabel Sawhill focuses on domestic poverty and federal fiscal policy. She is also co-director of the Center on Children and Families and the Budgeting for National Priorities Project at Brookings.

  • Bill Frenzel, Brookings guest scholar for the past 23 years, died on Monday, November 17, 2014 at the age of 86 at his home in McLean, Virginia.  He also served a Member of Congress for 20 years, representing Minnesota’s 3rd District and was principal House Republican spokesman on economic matters.

    During his career, Frenzel was the Ranking Minority Member on the House Budget Committee and was the principal Republican economic spokesperson in the House. He was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and its Trade Subcommittee, and was a congressional representative to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in Geneva for 15 years.

    He was appointed to serve by presidents on both sides of the aisle: In 1993, he was special advisor to President Bill Clinton for NAFTA and was instrumental in getting the agreement passed.   In 2001, President Bush appointed him to the Social Security Commission, and in 2002, to the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), which he chaired. In January, 2005, he was appointed to President Bush’s Tax Reform Commission.  And this year, President Obama appointed him to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

    For his efforts on NAFTA, on the 20th anniversary of the passage of the agreement this year, Bill was awarded the Champion of Free Trade Award from the Economic Club of Minnesota in January 2014. In October 2014, he was awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest award Mexico confers on foreigners by Mexican Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora at the Mexican Cultural Center.  And for his overall efforts to advance trade and the US-Japan relationship, in 2000, he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, by the Emperor of Japan.

    Bill served in many capacities while at Brookings – on the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the Bretton Woods Committee, the Eurasia Foundation, the Ripon Society, the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform, and many more.  He also served on the Congressional Ethics Committee and was a board member of Sit Mutual Funds and Northstar Education Finance.

    Born on July 31, 1928 in St. Paul, Minnesota, Bill was raised there and went on to receive his B.A. and M.B.A. from Dartmouth College.  He also served as a Naval Officer during the Korean War.  In 2002, he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Hamline University.  He was president of the Minneapolis Terminal Warehouse Co., and other corporations, a member of the Executive Board of the American Warehousemen's Association, and served eight years in the Minnesota Legislature.

    Bill is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ruthy, and his three daughters, Debby, Pam and Mitty, and two perfect grandchildren, Will and Polly Lindon.

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