House of Representatives
The appropriations process is usually arduous, but this year may be even more so. The largest disagreement between the Senate and House, which is nowhere close to being solved, is how to deal with sequestration. The Senate Appropriations Committee is working from an overall funding level of $1,058 billion for FY 2014, as was set by the Budget Control Act caps without sequestration.
Recently, a bipartisan duo in the House -- Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) and Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) -- introduced the SAVE Act, a bill to reduce federal government spending through reforms that would make the government more efficient. The bill includes many policies, including recommendations from the Government Accountability Office's reports on overlap or duplication in government, to reduce unnecessary spending.
Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee took a small step in the process to replace the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula -- Medicare's physician payment "system" -- with a more stable and efficient alternative by issuing draft legislation. Passed in 1997, the SGR formula is a backstop for Medicare spending which adjusts physician payments based on whether the program meets certain spending targets.
Although efforts to replace the sequester have been on hold for a while, the House Democrats, led by House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), have come out with a bill to replace the remaining 2013 and part of the 2014 sequester with $181 billion of savings over ten years. The bill is similar to one Rep.
Last week, the House Budget Committee released a package of budget process reforms consisting of seven different pieces of legislation.
As work on tax reform gets going, the Joint Committee on Taxation has provided a 568-page report laying out just about everything you need to know about the tax code. The report, provided to the House Ways and Means Committee, lays out what the current tax code looks like and where reforms could head.
Update: This blog has been updated since its original posting to incorporate the House Democratic, Republican Study Commitee, and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) budgets.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, has released an alternative budget on behalf of House Democrats, "Jobs, Growth, and a Stronger Future." His budget succeeds in putting debt on a slight downward path with $1.8 trillion of savings compared to current law, or $2.3 trillion compared to the CRFB Realistic baseline.
Trying to determine the actual level of savings in budget proposals can be confusing, as there is no single agreed-upon set of baseline assumptions to follow. Both Congressman Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Murray (D-WA) use their own baselines from which to measure savings, which differ in a couple ways from current law or CRFB Realistic.