|Health Care Reform Faces Fiscal Reality||CBO Report: Rising Health Costs are Unsustainable||MedPAC Recommends Reforms; Rockefeller Proposes Enhanced Role||CBO: $9.1 Trillion Deficit over 10 Years||APPROPRIATIONS TRACKER|
Welcome to the Concord Coalition's weekly Washington Budget Report: a nonpartisan plain English summary of key budget, appropriations, and tax developments.
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Track 1- Economic Stimulus:
Track 2 - Completion of '09 Appropriations:
Track 3 - FY 2010 Budget [SEE APPROPRIATIONS TRACKER BELOW]:
Track 4 - Stabilizing the Financial, Housing, and Auto Sectors (Ongoing)
Track 6 - Climate Change - Energy
Track 7 - Highway Bill (FY 2010-15)
Track 8 - Enacting Statutory PAYGO
President Obama's health care reform effort is facing fiscal reality, as Congress begins mark-ups and CBO issues preliminary cost estimates.
HELP Committee Mark-up: On Wednesday of this week, the Senate's HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee) began marking up Senator Kennedy's proposed Affordable Health Choices Act (AHCA):
Senate Finance Committee: The Senate Finance Committee postponed mark-up of its health care reform plan until after the July 4th congressional recess.
House Health Committees: In the House, the three Democratic chairmen of the committees of jurisdiction over health reform -- Ways & Means, Energy & Commerce, and Education & Labor -- introduced a health care discussion draft on June 19, 2008. Highlights:
Summary of House Tri-Committee Plan
House Plan: Draft Legislative Language
Additional Background on House Democratic Plan
Former Senate Majority Leaders Propose Bipartisan Health Plan: Former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker (R-TN), Bob Dole (R-KS), and Tom Daschle (D-SD) released a bipartisan health reform plan costing $1.2 trillion over 10 years. Highlights of the plan:
In a highly informative report prepared for the Senate Budget Committee and released this week, the Congressional Budget Office reiterated that "the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, primarily because of rapidly rising spending on health care." Highlights of the report:
MedPAC (Congress' Medicare Payment Advisory Commission) this week released a report addressing how incentives in the Medicare payment systems could be changed to save money and increase quality. MedPAC's reports are a key source of information and analysis on ways to reduce the rate of growth in Medicare spending -- which is particularly important this year when Medicare reforms are being actively considered as offsets to pay for health care reform legislation. Highlights:
In a related development, Senate Finance Committee Health Subcommittee Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has proposed to beef up the role of MedPAC:
CBO this week released its updated Analysis of the President's FY 2010 Budget (which was sent to Congress on May 7th). Highlights of CBO's report:
MARK-UPS COMPLETED WEEK OF JUNE 15:
House subcommittee: Mil Con-VA; State-Foreign Ops
House full committee: Agriculture; Interior-Environment
Senate subcommittee: Homeland Security
Senate full committee: Homeland Security; Legislative Branch
HOUSE FLOOR ACTION: 6/18: Commerce-Justice-Science passed
In general--Congressional appropriators face the task of reconciling the President's FY 2010 discretionary funding requests that total $9 billion more than the amount allowed by the FY 2010 congressional budget resolution (see April 30, 2009 WBR). Appropriators will also have to decide whether to accept the $17 billion in program reductions and terminations proposed by the Administration (see May 11, 2009 WBR). Obama Administration's proposed "Terminations, Reductions, and Savings"
Following are LINKS to the latest congressional action, plus a sampling of issues facing the appropriators as reported by Congressional Quarterly. The numbers in parentheses are the FY '09 regular appropriations level in billions (not including stimulus funds), followed by the FY 2010 President's request.
1. AGRICULTURE ($21.6 / $22.9) -- Major issues include the President's proposed 6.5% increase over the current year; overhaul of the food safety system; and the President's proposal to end direct payments to farmers with more than $500,000 in annual sales revenue. House: Chairman's Statement Summary Table Earmark List Summary as Passed by full committee
2. COMMERCE-JUSTICE-SCIENCE ($60.1 / $64.6) -- Major issues include the President's proposed 7% increase over the current year; funds to close Gitmo; a major Southwest Border Initiative; readiness of the Census Bureau for the upcoming census; NASA's post-space shuttle priorities; and a program to help states defray the costs of jailing illegal immigrants convicted of crimes. House: Chairman's Statement Summary Table Earmark List Summary as passed by full committee
America's Priorities: How the U.S. Government Raises and Spends $3 Trillion Per Year, by Charles S. Konigsberg, Editor, The Concord Coalition's Washington Budget Report.