The Senate GOP released its Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal for markup today, ahead of a likely vote on the floor next week. It cuts slightly less spending than the House Republicans' budget over the next decade but is markedly different from the President's proposal concerning both revenues and outlays.
- The Senate GOP budget would balance in its tenth year. Over the next decade it would result in $43.24 trillion in outlays and bring in $41.67 trillion in revenues for a net deficit of $1.57 trillion.
- Comparatively, the House GOP budget would balance in 9 years, and spend less ($43.15 trillion) while bringing in the same amount of tax revenue. That would mean a slightly lower deficit of $1.48 trillion over the next ten years.
- The President's budget proposal does not balance, spends substantially more over the next decade ($50.34 trillion), and increases taxes to $44.66 trillion for a net ten-year deficit of $5.67 trillion.
There are some key provisions in the Senate GOP's budget that taxpayers will want to keep an eye on as debates begin:
- Defense Spending Continues To Increase. The Senate GOP budget contains $5.8 trillion of defense spending, with such budget authority rising every year over the next ten years. The Budget Control Act caps are well exceeded when Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding is included. The Senate budget adds $58 billion to OCO, while the House's plan includes $94 billion.
- What Will Health Care Reform Look Like? Like the plan offered by Republicans in the House, the Senate GOP budget proposes to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. However, the budget does not outline any specific replacement for the President's law.
- Mandatory Program Reforms Proposed; Few Specifics. The Senate Republicans have proposed a block grant system for Medicaid reform, modeled after the Children's Health Insurance Program and similar to the House GOP's proposal in order to offer states more control over use of such funding. The budget also proposes to protect Medicare from insolvency without saying how; rather, it "allows congressional committees to work with ... stakeholders on the best ways to save the system..." The budget touts $4.3 trillion in mandatory spending reductions over the next decade, and enough to fully offset the rising costs of Social Security without cutting benefits from that program.
Without more detail from the Senate GOP on how it would realize some of the deficit reduction they claim their budget would offer, it's difficult to assess how the resolution might actually affect taxpayers. We hope to see more specifics emerge as the House and Senate debate and reconcile their respective budget offerings.