May 28, 2017

House Approves Flawed Budget Plan for 2015

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...

House Republicans passed a budget plan last week that outlines their priorities but does not reflect much interest in bipartisan compromises on broad fiscal reforms this year. The budget passed on a 219-205 vote, without any Democratic support.

Senate Democrats -- citing a previous agreement that set overall spending levels for Fiscal 2015 -- say they do not plan to produce their own budget plan. This means there will be no concurrent congressional budget resolution for 2015 and thus no prospect of an agreed-upon plan that looks out beyond next year.

House Republicans deserve credit for passing a budget in an election year when it might have been politically easier to skip it. The plan, written by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, promises to balance the budget within 10 years -- a worthy objective.

But the House budget takes a lopsided approach to deficit reduction, rejecting any revenue increases and focusing on even sharper cuts in domestic programs while allowing defense to exceed current spending caps. The budget envisions unrealistically low levels for domestic spending.

And while Republicans have properly criticized President Obama for backing away this year from a proposed switch to a more accurate measure of inflation known as “Chained CPI,” the House budget also fails to include such a proposal.