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Democratic Caucuses' FY 2015 Alternative Budget Plans

by Michael Tasselmyer / /

In the newest edition of The Taxpayers Tab, National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) compared the alternative budget proposals put forth by Congressional caucuses including the Republican Study Commission (RSC), the House Republicans, the House Democrats, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). We looked at each budget's top-line numbers relative to the Congressional Budget Office's baseline projections for 2014 to give taxpayers an idea of how each of these budget alternatives differ from each other and the current budgetary forecast.

There were several alternatives offered from the Democrats:

FY 2015 Democratic Budget Proposals
(in billions of dollars)
 
Defense
$514
$549
$521
Unknown
$574
Other Discretionary
$524
$516
$492
Unknown
$596
Mandatory
$2,116
$2,458
$2,728
Unknown
$2,763
OCO1
$92
$85
$85
$49
$29
Total
$3,246
$3,608
$3,826
$3,492
$3,962
Change from FY2014
N/A
+$362
+$580
+$246
+$716
Notes:
Totals may not add due to rounding.
Figures are in budget authority except for the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) (see below).
BillTally does not track changes in debt interest servicing and so they are not included in these figures.
1Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding is not subject to the budget caps.
2The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) does not provide a breakdown of discretionary or mandatory spending. NTUF included CBC's OCO outlays to its FY 2015 budget authority total for a more complete spending total.
3CPC reported their budget proposal only in outlays. NTUF therefore must compare their outlay figure with the budget authority figures of the other entities. This may not reflect the caucus's budgetary intent.

They differed in a few key ways:

  • Both the CBC and CPC budgets explicitly state that under their plans, Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) will end after FY 2015. The CBC provides $85 billion in budget authority for that function in 2015, but projects only $49 billion in outlays (with the rest spread out over the next ten years). CPC limits OCO funding in FY 2015 to amounts needed for immediate wind-downs.
  • The House Democrats' budget sticks to the spending caps proposed in the Ryan-Murray budget compromise; the President's budget acknowledges those amounts in its formal request, but also offers policy proposals that adjust those caps and thus allow for higher discretionary spending levels.
  • Each of the Democratic plans emphasize increased support for economic stimulus and job development programs, and thus would increase discretionary spending above baseline levels. However, they also grow mandatory spending largely by way of expanding eligibility for certain entitlement programs.

The Democrats' budgets focus primarily on responding directly to the country's poor economic conditions, both by increasing eligibility for entitlement programs and providing increased funding for job training and development. In general these proposals would be offset by more and/or higher taxes, but none of these plans project a balanced budget within the next ten years.

For more, check out NTUF's full analysis in The Taxpayer's Tab.