Lawmakers Work Towards Unified Budget Resolution

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Republicans are hoping the House and Senate will be able to approve a concurrent budget resolution for Fiscal 2016 by the end of the week.

This would be a positive step towards more orderly budgeting on Capitol Hill, although lawmakers will likely find it difficult to pass some appropriations bills at the low levels being discussed. And eventually Republicans and President Obama may try to negotiate a compromise budget plan for the coming year.

The House and Senate approved separate budget resolutions in late March, with the votes largely along party lines. The plans’ overlaps include higher defense spending and repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The two plans call for a balanced budget near the end of the next 10 years, but they rely on some gimmicks and unrealistic assumptions. In addition, it is unclear whether lawmakers would make up for revenue that would be lost by repealing the ACA or permanently extending tax breaks.

Some lawmakers also want Congress to fully pay for their recently approved replacement of Medicare’s formula for payments to health care providers. Unfortunately, lawmakers waived pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules when they passed that replacement.

External links:
Budget Plans Include Questionable Assumptions (Concord)
Press Release on House Budget Plan (Concord)
Everything You Need to Know About a Budget Conference (CRFB)
Challenges of Balanced Budget Talk in Washington (Fiscal Times)

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