How the Competing Budget Plans Stack Up

Members of the bipartisan budget conference Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (L) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) discuss their initial meeting at the U.S. Capitol October 17, 2013 in Washington, DC. Congress voted last night to fund the federal budget and increase the nation's debt limit, ending a 16-day government shutdown.
National Journal
Billy House
Add to Briefcase
Billy House
Oct. 27, 2013, 7:19 a.m.

Ex­pect­a­tions are low from both Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats as their House and Sen­ate budget con­fer­ees pre­pare to sit down for their first form­al meet­ing Wed­nes­day, with the pro­spects of any “grand bar­gain” on 10-year de­fi­cit-re­duc­tion goals be­ing roundly dis­missed.

Rather, the an­ti­cip­a­tion about any agree­ment emer­ging — if there is one at all — is that it will have a much nar­row­er fo­cus, ad­dress­ing only the rest of the cur­rent fisc­al year that lasts through Sept. 30, 2014, or per­haps an even short­er peri­od. Some re­lief might be thrown in by re­jig­ger­ing the auto­mat­ic spend­ing cuts un­der se­quest­ra­tion in some way, and by clos­ing a few tax loop­holes.

Will the con­fer­ence be a missed op­por­tun­ity? Some law­makers, seni­or aides, and out­side ex­perts say it could be a chance for the 29 con­fer­ees led by the two Budget Com­mit­tee chairs — Sen. Patty Mur­ray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ry­an, R-Wis. — to de­bate out in the open the lar­ger pub­lic-policy ef­fects of their ap­proaches, and then work on a co­hes­ive mul­ti­year budget plan.

Even though such a break­through is seen as un­likely, the talks be­gin with some clear start­ing points — the budget blue­prints passed by each cham­ber earli­er this year.

OVER­ALL

  • Ry­an’s House budget plan is billed as bal­an­cing the budget in 10 years by cut­ting spend­ing $5.7 tril­lion, com­pared with the Con­gres­sion­al Budget Of­fice’s baseline ($4.6 tril­lion if there is an as­sump­tion that war costs will be re­duced, a baseline Ry­an uses).
  • Mur­ray’s Sen­ate bill seeks a com­bin­a­tion of new rev­en­ue and spend­ing cuts to re­duce the de­fi­cit by about $1.85 tril­lion over 10 years. If a pro­posed jobs and in­fra­struc­ture pack­age is not in­cluded, the amount of sav­ings in the Sen­ate plan would go from $1.85 tril­lion to about $1.95 tril­lion over 10 years.

REV­EN­UE AND TAX RE­FORM

  • The House budget pro­pos­al calls for rev­en­ue-neut­ral tax re­forms re­l­at­ive to the CBO baseline, such as re­peal­ing the al­tern­at­ive min­im­um tax and re­du­cing the cor­por­ate tax rate.
  • About half of the Sen­ate’s planned de­fi­cit re­duc­tion over 10 years — $975 bil­lion — would come from new rev­en­ues, mostly from cor­por­a­tions and wealthy house­holds.

DIS­CRE­TION­ARY SPEND­ING

  • The House budget in­cludes $966 bil­lion in dis­cre­tion­ary spend­ing for fisc­al 2014, di­vided between $552 bil­lion in de­fense and $414 bil­lion in nondefense spend­ing.
  • The Sen­ate budget in­cludes a topline of $1.058 tril­lion in dis­cre­tion­ary spend­ing for fisc­al 2014, di­vided between $552 bil­lion in de­fense and $506 bil­lion in nondefense spend­ing.

SE­QUEST­RA­TION

  • The House budget ex­ceeds the de­fense se­quest­ra­tion cap set in the 2011 Budget Con­trol Act by about $54 bil­lion for fisc­al 2014. But it cuts nondefense dis­cre­tion­ary by an equi­val­ent amount, in a move to trans­fer the de­fense se­quester to do­mest­ic pro­grams and main­tain some of the over­all cap.
  • The Sen­ate budget ex­ceeds the se­quest­ra­tion caps by $91 bil­lion for fisc­al 2014, but calls for re­pla­cing the se­quester cuts with a com­bin­a­tion of new rev­en­ue and spend­ing — and do­ing so fully over 10 years.

MEDI­CARE AND MEDI­CAID

  • The House budget would change Medi­caid to a block grant for states; Medi­care would be con­ver­ted to al­loc­a­tions to be­ne­fi­ciar­ies based on their in­come, and the amounts could be used for private in­sur­ance or a form of tra­di­tion­al Medi­care. Those changes would start in 2024 and would af­fect those who are cur­rently 55 or young­er. The House plan would also in­crease the eli­gib­il­ity age for Medi­care from 65 to 67 by 2035.
  • The Sen­ate plan in­cludes a $265 bil­lion re­duc­tion to Medi­care and a $10 bil­lion cut to Medi­caid, without mak­ing ma­jor struc­tur­al changes.

AF­FORD­ABLE CARE ACT

  • The House budget would re­peal most of the health care law, in­clud­ing its ex­change sub­sidies and Medi­caid ex­pan­sion.
  • The Sen­ate budget as­sumes full im­ple­ment­a­tion of the Af­ford­able Care Act.

DE­FI­CIT AND DEBT

  • The House pro­jects that its budget would de­liv­er a $7 bil­lion sur­plus by 2023, based on CBO baselines. The debt would sta­bil­ize in 2015 at 74.1 per­cent of gross do­mest­ic product, then de­cline each year to 54.8 per­cent of GDP in 2023.
  • The Sen­ate pro­jects a $566 bil­lion de­fi­cit by 2023. Debt would sta­bil­ize in 2015 at 77.1 per­cent of GDP, then de­cline each year to 70.4 per­cent of GDP in 2023.
  • The budget con­fer­ence has un­til about Dec. 13 to come up with a gov­ern­ment spend­ing plan that can pass both cham­bers. Time is so short be­cause the le­gis­la­tion that re­opened the gov­ern­ment ex­pires Jan. 15, and an­oth­er shut­down looms un­less a new agree­ment can be ne­go­ti­ated by then.
What We're Following See More »
CITES CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Lieberman Withdraws from Consideration for FBI Job
3 days ago
THE LATEST
MINIMUM 2 PERCENT GDP
Trump Tells NATO Countries To Pay Up
3 days ago
BREAKING
MANAFORT AND FLYNN
Russians Discussed Influencing Trump Through Aides
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Source:
BUT WHITE HOUSE MAY USE AGAINST HIM ANYWAY
Ethics Cops Clear Mueller to Work on Trump Case
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."

Source:
BUSINESSES CAN’T PLEAD FIFTH
Senate Intel to Subpoena Two of Flynn’s Businesses
4 days ago
THE LATEST

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login