While Congress has approved a budget resolution for the first time in six years, lawmakers in both parties are voicing reasonable doubts about whether it is a realistic blueprint for the years ahead.
The Senate approved the 2016 budget resolution last week on a 51-48 vote, with 44 Democrats, two independents and two Republicans (presidential hopefuls) in opposition. The House approved the resolution in late April on a 226-197 vote, also without any Democratic support.
The resolution envisions slower growth of the debt, and a balanced budget within 10 years. But it does not explain how most of its $5 trillion in proposed deficit reduction would actually be achieved.
In addition, it calls for more defense spending and assumes current levels of revenue — although the House has already passed some proposed tax cuts this year without offsetting them.
The Concord Coalition has warned that the resolution relies on some unrealistic assumptions about future congressional action. In addition, President Obama has indicated he would veto some of the proposed cuts.
“Given the political realities in Washington,” said Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby, “it seems unlikely that substantial increases in defense spending and more tax cuts can be financed with even deeper cuts in domestic discretionary spending.”
This indicates that further negotiations over broad budget priorities — this time engaging both parties — will be necessary between now and the start of the next fiscal year Oct. 1.